Today, Christians around the world are increasingly being persecuted for their faith, with the number killed because of their religion doubling in 2013 to 2,123, according to a new report by Open Doors, a non-denominational group supporting persecuted Christians worldwide. Other groups put the figure as high as 8,000, Reuters reports.
In Iraq and Syria, ISIS is forcibly converting members of ancient Christian civilizations and destroying biblical sites as it establishes a modern-day Caliphate.
President Obama is the leader of a nation that is still predominantly Christian. He is quite good at advertising his own Christian faith. It is time for him to make a serious statement on behalf all Americans about the plight of Christians overseas. And he should describe exactly what he is doing – if he’s doing anything serious at all – to employ American influence to combat the persecution.
And yet what do we have from him? This, from a March press conference in Rome following a meeting with the Pope:
And then we spent a lot of time talking about the challenges of conflict and how elusive peace is around the world. There was some specific focus on the Middle East where His Holiness has a deep interest in the Israeli-Palestinian issue, but also what’s happening in Syria, what’s happening in Lebanon, and the potential persecution of Christians. And I reaffirmed that it is central to U.S. foreign policy that we protect the interests of religious minorities around the world.
The potential persecution of Christians? That’s pathetic.
Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) sought Tuesday to raise the alarm:
The silence in this town – in Washington – is deafening. Does Washington even care? Where is the Obama administration? The president has failed. Where is the Congress? The congress had failed.
In his speech, Wolf highlighted the important place Iraq holds in the origins of Judeo-Christianity, noting that, after Israel, the Bible contains more references to places in Iraq than any other country, according to CNS News.
Presidential attention to this matter would not only put the killers of Christians on notice, it would draw attention to the issue within the United States and throughout the world. The president’s policies and his failure to keep troops in Iraq and act against ISIS have led directly to a portion of this tragedy. He owes those suffering at least this.
Easter greetings, prayer breakfasts, and visits with the Pope are great. But it is unacceptable to ignore the plight of a people with whom so many Americans – both Christian and non-Christian alike – feel such a strong sense of kinship.