When will the Obama administration get serious about the persecution of Christians — or even acknowledge it? Kirsten Powers levels this blast at Barack Obama for his obsession with the crusades of a millenium ago rather than the systematic eradication of Christianity’s oldest communities happening without comment from the US president. Until this week’s statement from the NSC, the entire White House had been silent on the targets of Islamist persecution, even as the atrocities mount. It’s long past time to put an end to this denial, Powers declares (via Twitchy):
Religious persecution of Christians is rampant worldwide, as Pew has noted, but nowhere is it more prevalent than in the Middle East and Northern Africa, where followers of Jesus are the targets of religious cleansing. Pope Francis has repeatedly decried the persecution and begged the world for help, but it has had little impact. Western leaders — including Obama — will be remembered for their near silence as this human rights tragedy unfolded. The president’s mumblings about the atrocities visited upon Christians (usually extracted after public outcry over his silence) are few and far between. And it will be hard to forget his lecturing of Christians at the National Prayer Breakfast about the centuries-old Crusades while Middle Eastern Christianswere at that moment being harassed, driven from their homes, tortured and murdered for their faith.
A week and a half after Obama’s National Prayer Breakfast speech, 21 Coptic Christians were beheaded for being “people of the cross.” Seven of the victims were former students of my friend and hero “Mama” Maggie Gobran, known as the “Mother Theresa of Cairo” for her work with the poorest of the poor. She told me these dear men grew up in rural Upper Egypt and had gone to Libya seeking work to support their families. They died with dignity as they called out to their God, while the cowardly murderers masked their faces.
Rather than hectoring Christians about their ancestors’ misdeeds, Obama should honor these men and the countless Middle Eastern Christians persecuted before them.
She’s not terribly optimistic about the chances of that happening, though:
Indeed, let’s talk more about the Crusades.
Yes, because when a marauding Islamist army sweeps across failed states and commits genocide and terrorism against Christians today, it’s so helpful to remind them of what Sir Godfrey of Buillon may or may not have done in 1099.
Powers isn’t the only one demanding action from Obama. Franklin Graham told Fox’s Gretchen Carlson that he also holds Obama responsible for a lack of action by the global community to the atrocities against Christians in the region:
“Each day’s news seems to reveal new horrors from militant Islam,” Graham, who leads the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, wrote on his Facebook page Monday, about the brutality of the Islamic State terror group, which is also known as ISIS or ISIL.
“Can it be that the world is no longer as shocked by Christians having their heads cut off and then ISIS proudly promoting this on video?” he asked readers. Such news should leave us “horrified and nauseated,” he wrote, adding that the government needs to recognize “Islam for the danger it is.”
Graham, the son of evangelist Billy Graham, suggested that the Obama administration must do two things at the earliest.
“Immediately look at immigration reform to halt all immigration of Muslims from countries that have active terrorist cells — the threat this poses to our nation is huge and could end up costing thousands of lives in the future if we don’t act now.”
The government also needs to “take immediate military action to defeat ISIS,” Graham wrote.
John Allen, the intrepid Vatican reporter for Crux and the Boston Globe and the author of The Global War on Christians, also wonders when the world will emerge from its denial:
Though it seems almost perverse to seek a silver lining in the rise of ISIS, nevertheless there actually is one. It has at least put an end to a longstanding climate of denial that violent anti-Christian persecution around the world is a genuine, and mounting, human rights menace.
The point is not that Christians deserve special privileges, or that they’re the only ones at risk. It’s rather that for a long time, the threats they face couldn’t penetrate Western consciousness, where the typical American or European is more accustomed to thinking of Christians as the authors of religious persecution rather than its victims.
Today, however, two-thirds of the world’s 2.3 billion Christians live in the developing world, where they’re often convenient targets for anti-Western rage – even though their churches have deeper roots in those places than most of their persecutors. Christians are also disproportionately likely to belong to ethnic and linguistic minorities, putting them doubly or triply in jeopardy.
All that has been true for some time, but the religious cleansing campaigns carried out by ISIS and its self-described “caliphate” has made anti-Christian hatred an utterly inescapable fact of life. The question is no longer whether it’s real, but what to do about it.
That’s true for most of the world. It’s still not true at the White House. That may be in part because to admit it would require another admission — that two key foreign-policy decisions by Obama set the industrial-scale slaughter in motion. Pulling American troops out of Iraq set Nouri al-Maliki free to purge Sunnis (and Kurds) from both government and the military, alienating western Iraq and pushing the Sunni tribes into the arms of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Decapitating the Moammar Qaddafi regime in Libya turned that key Mediterranean nation into a failed state run by terrorist networks. Absent those two policy choices, we wouldn’t see Nineveh’s Christian communities destroyed, beheading videos on the shores of the Mediterranean, or a thousand or more refugees this month drowning to escape the carnage and chaos in what used to be Libya.
Quite frankly, it’s easier for Obama to bloviate on the Crusades than it is for him to admit his foreign policy in the Middle East has been an utter disaster. Expect lots more medieval history lectures from the President, while the Islamist butchers in the region (and in sub-Saharan Africa, too) attempt to restore their version of the medieval under our noses, and mainly but not entirely at the expense of Christians.