Tag Archives: Obama and Christians

Obama and Christians


 

Pres. Barack Hussein Obama’s attitude toward the persecuted minorities in the Middle East has become nothing short of bizarre.

He has taken a muted attitude toward the problem of the persecution and threatened annihilation of some of the oldest Christian communities in the Middle East. Curiously there also have been only subdued protests from the American Mainline churches, infatuated with their social and political programs. While the Vatican has sounded off against generally against persecution of Christians, it too has given them less than their due.

Last week Obama belatedly chose to visit a mosque to reassure American Moslems against any backlash from the activities of the Islamic terrorists. It came seven years into his two administrations rather than the only two weeks Pres. George W. Bush had taken after 9/11 for a similar gesture.But in his sermon to the congregation, Obama apologized for acts of revenge and discrimination against American Moslems. In fact, there have been only isolated instances.

On the contrary, there has been considerable evidence that mosques throughout the country have been used by jihadists as propaganda and recruitment centers.  Futhermore, American Moslems attempting to isolate the terrorists and make the distinction between the great mass of peace-loving co-religionists were shocked by Obama’s choice of venues. The Administration chose a mosque with strong past associations with the Moslem Brotherhood and its terrorist offshoots.

This appears a manifestation of the sympathies of many of Obama’s closest advisers on Islamic affairs who view the Brotherhood as some sort of Islamic version of Western Christian Democrats. Their presence and influence in this Administration channels the infiltration of Communists in the U.S. and other allied governments during World War II. It has added to the confusion of the Obama Administration’s policies in the Middle East.

Although the President now proposes to bring in large numbers of Syrian refugees – without the capacity as Administration spokesmen have admitted to eliminate planted jihadists – it has turned a blind eye to Christian persecution. Only a few dozen Syrian Christians have received visas. The Administration’s explanation is that it cannot discriminate on religious grounds. But it is obvious that Christians in countries where the jihadists have control are a political class and not just a religious group. Meanwhile, some of the oldest Christian sects in the region of its origin are being obliterated through violence and forced flight.

Obama’s attitude and policies run the risk of repeating the shame of the 1930s when the Roosevelt Administration refused to accept German Jewish refugees and later other European Jews. Anti-Semites in the then Consular Service blocked their entry until 1944 – long after Hitler and the Nazis had adopted “the Final Solution” – when under the auspices of the President’s wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, the War Refugee Board was created.

 Until then only small groups were admitted under strict quotas and through the intercession of fellow professionals organized in such groups as the International Rescue Committee. Many of these talented refugees contributed to the U.S. war effort. It was Albert Einstein, a German refugee, as a spokesman for fellow German and Austrian refugee scientists, who warned FDR that the Nazis were working on nuclear weapons, spurred Washington to initiate the supersecret Manhattan program to develop an atomic bomb.

Now a new wave of Christian persecution has begun under the Xi Jinping regime in China. This time Xi has moved against the leadership of the government-sponsored Christian Communist Party front groups, Christianity in China, the Three-Self Patriotic Movement and the China Christian Council. The central government in 2014 named religion as one of four “severe challenges” to national security. Beijing has demolished more than 1,800 crosses across Zhejiang province, home to officially sponsored Christian organizations. Pastor “Joseph” Gu Yuese, one of those Christians most associated with the government-sponsored churches, is under prosecution.

The new Communist crackdown may be the result of the extraordinary growth of Christianity in China. In 1980 there were an estimated 10 million Christians in the People’s Republic, but by 200760 million. These numbers suggest an annual growth rate of 7 percent yield which means that by last year, there were nearly 100 million Chinese Christians. The conversions have been most dramatic among the educated, explained by some observers as a part of an attempt to cope with the Westernization of Chinese society as it rapidly industrializes.

While Obama has reported he brought up the question of closing of Chinese churches in recent talks with Xi, the growing persecution is going to demand a more forceful American response, both from officialdom and the American churches.

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The scandal of Christian persecution


The lack of public outcry over the continued persecution and murder of Christians in the Middle East is a scandal of enormous proportions. Only a few websites devoted to possible rescuing these victims dogs the internet. But pronouncements from public figures and even the leaders of Western Christendom are few and far between.

The fact is that Christians today face more persecution in more countries than any other religious group.

U.S. Christians sources estimate that 180 Christians are killed in 60 countries monthly for pursuit of their faith. Many of these are in notorious environments such as North Korea. But there are continuing incidents in nominally secular India, for example, where the current administration has its roots in Hindu chauvinism and in its twin, Moslem Pakistan.

But since 2011, of refugees official settlement in the U.S. just over 2,000 have been Muslim but only 53 Christians. It is true that particularly Syrian Christian refugees often more affluent, have made their way to the U.S. through ordinary visa channels and permanent residence. But the Obama Administration opposes legislation which would fast-track Christian refugees. That’s despite the fact that nearly a third of Syria’s Christians, about 600,000, have fled, harried by extremist groups like the Nusra Front [an Al Qaida affiliate] and now Daesh.

The Obama Administration downplaying of Christians in the refugee crisis is based on its fear such support would be viewed and used by Daesh [ISI or ISIL]. Or that it might be considered in the U.S. as part of the argument of “the clash of civilizations”. As in his earliest public Mideast pronouncements, Obama has argued inordinately supposed “Islamohobia” and antagonism toward American Moslems and the world Islamic community. But the reluctance to take on the issue goes back to the Bush Administration when Condoleezza Rice told a refugee aid official the White House did not intervene in ‘‘sectarian’’ issues.

 

It’s also true that Mideast Christians, generally, suffered less under the former autocratic regimes – including Sadam Hussein’s Iraq – than they have under their successors which often have a strong Muslim cast. Syrian Christians, for example, tended to stay loyal to Basher al-Assad rather than join the originally peaceful opponents of his bloody regime. The various Christian sects, some “in communion” with the Roman Catholic Chruch, others related to Eastern Orthodoxy, and others unique to the region and India, do not want to give up their ancient claims to their historic homes.

But having said all this, the toll of Christians in the region has been horrendous. In many instances Daesh has simply beheaded locals where it has taken over traditional Christian villages. These ethnicities date back thousands of years even preceding their conversion as the earliest followers of Christ. They have been given the choice of converting, death flight, or paying jizya, a special tax on “followers of the book”, that is, Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians.

Obama did get around to referring to Christian and other minorities last fall when he said ‘‘we cannot allow these communities to be driven from their ancient homelands.’’ And when Daesh threatened to eradicate the Yazidis, an ancient syncretic sect combining elements of the region’s major religions, the U.S. beat back the terrorists with intensive bombing and Special Forces intervention.

But proposals to permit a large entry of Mideast Christians has been denounced as a violation of the constitution prohibition against religious favoritism. But in fact admission of refugees has often been based on a particular ethnic group targeted by oppressors abroad. And in this instance Christians constitute such a group.

The argument that more forceful rhetoric and more specific Christians worldwide, but particularly in the Mideast, must be made. The charge of “crusaders” – distorted as it is in all aspects – by Daesh and other Islamic terrorists should not be an excuse for not taking up the cudgels for an important and generally neglected human rights cause.

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