By Ken Blackwell and Bob Morrison
Americans are being taxed to support jihadist groups in Syria who kill Christians. That’s the inescapable conclusion brought to us in Washington by a delegation of Syrian Christians. Sponsored by the Westminster Institute, the Syrian Christian group is making the rounds in the nation’s capital, trying to get U.S. Government officials to listen to their plight.
The Syrian Christian delegation is itself a very ecumenical group. Catholics, Orthodox, and Evangelical Christians have not given up their ties to their own faith communities. Nor have they resolved all theological differences. But they have come together in what some have called “an ecumenism of the trenches.” Subjected to murderous attacks by jihadists, these Christians are defending themselves. And they are also speaking out for their moderate Muslim neighbors.
The Syrian Christians report having lived — however precariously — in this turbulent Middle East region for centuries. Their communities — many of them — date from the earliest spread of the Gospel. Let us not forget that Saul of Tarsus was headed to Damascus to kill the Christians there when he was cast down from his horse by a vision from Heaven. The story is told in the Book of Acts:
“Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” (Acts 9:4, NIV)
When Saul asked who was speaking to him, the voice replied, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” (Acts 9:5-6, NIV)
Saul, blinded, was converted from that moment. It’s interesting — and it should be especially compelling to us today — that Jesus asks Saul “why do you persecute me?” Renamed Paul, he became the great Apostle to the Gentiles. The Conversion of Paul is a classic painting by the Renaissance artist, Caravaggio.
Those who today are killing the Christians in Damascus are not just killing more Mideast Arabs in a seemingly endless cycle of slaughter and reprisal. They are persecuting Jesus Himself. He said so.
What the Syrian Christians are asking of us is not military intervention on their side. They don’t ask us for money. They never mentioned foreign aid or even humanitarian assistance.
All they ask is that the United States of America stop aiding the Syrian persecutors. Secretary John Kerry is bragging that the U.S. will send another $380 million in U.S. aid to the anti-Assad fighters in Syria. We will have to borrow this money from China to give it to jihadists in Syria.
But the Syrian Christians deny that those fighters are even Syrian. They come, the delegation tells us, from outside Syria, funded by and incited by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey. Or so they tell us.
Determining who is and is not a Syrian is beyond our capacity. But the Obama administration cannot even assure us that their “navigators” for ObamaCare do not have criminal records. How are they going do background checks on fighters in a war zone?
We need not speak up for the Assad regime. The Syrian Christians claim that they were able to live peacefully under Hafez al-Assad, the late father of the current ruler in Damascus. They vigorously deny that Bashar al-Assad, presently clinging to power in Syria, was the one to use chemical weapons against his opponents.
President Obama went way out on a diplomatic limb, saying that if Assad used chemical weapons, that would be a “red line,” calling for concerted action by the U.S. and our allies. It seems that Assad — -already embattled, but seemingly gaining the upper hand against his enemies — would have had little incentive to use chemical weapons. But his enemies — hoping for U.S. intervention, or at least eager to have billions in U.S. aid — would have had every incentive to use chemical weapons and blame Assad.
Assad admitted on FOX News that he had chemical weapons, but denied using them.
The U.S. and Britain had chemical weapons in WWII, too, but did not use them. We are unlikely any time soon to know the truth of the claims and counter-claims. But this much is clear: Christians are suffering now. And the Obama administration boasts that it has given more than $1 billion in aid to the Syrian anti-government forces — and has linked this gift with the Muslim holiday of Eid-al-Fitr.
The ACLU and the rest of the atheizer lobby here would go ballistic if the Obama administration gave $1 billion to Syria’s persecuted Christians and publicly avowed it was an Easter gift.
President Obama, who does not even attend Christian worship on Christmas, and whose own attendance at church services is spotty at best, is free to practice or not practice the religion he keeps assuring us he believes in.
What he should not be free to do is tax us to support the killers of our Christian brothers and sisters in the Middle East. We remember the shameful display of President Obama bowing before King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. No president should bow to any monarch, but no American should bow to Abdullah, especially, that desert despot. It is ironic that Abdullah is now said to despise Obama and have no trust in U.S. foreign policy. But that doesn’t mean he or any other jihadist in the Mideast will turn down billions in U.S. aid for their favored supporters.
The war on terror has been going on for twelve years now. World War II was won in less than four. Maybe that’s because in the Second World War, we were only paying for one side.