Americans have understandably voiced grave concerns about allowing tens of thousands of Syrian refugees into the country, especially since the terrorists who perpetrated the mass murders in Paris claimed the Islamic religion and since ISIS says it is embedding terrorists among the refugees — and the refugees from Syria are mostly Muslims from the same area of the world as the terrorists.
What is mystifying to many Americans is the clear bias that President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and most of the American Left show in favoring Syrian refugees who are Muslims over those who are Christians. “Islam is not our adversary,” Clinton declared recently. “Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.”
While it is demonstrably true that only a minority of Muslims commit these terrorist acts, it is also undeniable that all the terrorists claim to be part of the religion begun by the Prophet Muhammad in Arabia in the seventh century. Not any of these terrorists are either Christians, Jews, Hindus, or Buddhists.
Responding to those who have advocated for more Christian refugees, Obama was particularly indignant, calling such a suggestion “shameful,” and adding, “We don’t have religious tests to our compassion.”
On the contrary, religion has long been an important criteria in determining refugee status, both by the U.S. State Department and the United Nations.
A refugee is defined as “someone who has fled from his or her home country and cannot return because he or she has a well-founded fear of persecution based on religion, race, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.”
Certainly the case can be made that Middle-Eastern Christians, as a group, are targeted by ISIS and other hard-core Islamic terrorists more than any other group. (It is possible that Jews could also be particular targets, had they not largely abandoned the region years ago.) In Iraq, the ethnic Chaldeans and Assyrians (two groups that should be familiar to Bible students) have long been mostly Christian. Chaldean Archbishop Bashar Warda of Iraq told a press conference at the 2015 Knights of Columbus Convention in Philadelphia in August of the concerns of Christians. He was joined by a Syrian archbishop, Jean-Clement Jeanbart, and they quoted federal data which indicated that since October of last year, 906 Muslim refugees from Syria were granted U.S. visas, but only 28 of Syria’s estimated 700,000 Christian refugees obtained visas.
As Chip Wood wrote for The New American, “The Obama administration has rigged the rules in favor of Muslim refugees.”
Another case in point of the Obama administration's bias against Christians involves 27 Iraqi Chaldean Christians who fled ISIS, made it to Mexico this past spring and then crossed into the United States, asking for religious asylum. Instead, they were held in a detention center in San Diego. Despite the fact that they have family members and church leaders in the San Diego area who have vouched for them, customs officials are demanding their deportation.
“This is extremely disturbing and wrong,” Jim Jacobson, president of Christian Freedom International, told Fox News. “Until this decision, having a family sponsor has always been a huge positive factor in adjudicating asylum cases. Christians are facing unspeakable torture and atrocities at the hands of ISIS.”
One reason that such a very small percentage of Christians from the Middle East are allowed into the United States is that the United Nations does much of the refugee processing, and Christians have been forced to avoid the UN refugee camps because they have been persecuted there by Muslim refugees.
Alex Newman, writing in The New American, lamented, “Christianity is on the verge of extinction across the Middle East — the land of its birth — as establishment-spawned savages such as the self-styled 'Islamic State' (ISIS) butcher, torture, and enslave Christian communities, especially in Syria and Iraq.” Thousands of Christians were forced to flee Iraq after the fall of strongman Saddam Hussein in 2003. At the time of the U.S. invasion, which President George W. Bush predicted would bring “democracy” to the region, Iraq had around 1.5 million Christians. Today, the Christian population has dwindled to roughly a third of that number.
The Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Babylon, Louis Sako, recalled that the American intervention was supposed to bring “democracy, freedom, and prosperity.” Instead, it brought “anarchy, war, death and the plight of three million refugees.” While Hussein was a brutal dictator, he did not persecute the Christians in Iraq. After his ouster, the forces of a militant form of Islam were unleashed, leading many Christians to flee into Syria, where they now face genocide from ISIS, especially if Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad falls from power. Assad’s ouster has long been advocated by President Obama, as well as many American neoconservatives.
The New American predicted in 2012 that U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East would contribute to the extermination of Christians, not only in Syria, but also in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Ivory Coast, and Libya. “Nearly a third of Syria’s Christians, about 600,000, have found themselves with no choice but to flee the country, driven out by extremist groups like the Nusra Front and now ISIS,” the magazine reported.
A century ago, some 15 percent of the population of the Middle East was Christian. Today, it is only four percent.
Yet, Obama, Clinton, and other on the Left express no concern about the possible extinction of Christianity from its ancestral homeland. On the contrary, in August, Obama announced more military support for U.S.-trained “rebels,” including air strikes on Syrian military forces that are busy fighting ISIS.
And this anti-Christian bias is present not only with America’s foreign policy, but it permeates Obama’s entire ideology. Certainly one can recall his disdain for those Americans who “cling to their guns and their religion." The religion he meant was certainly not Islam — it was Christianity. One could cite multiple examples of this anti-Christian bias, but certainly the powerful efforts of the Obama administration to force Hobby Lobby and The Little Sisters of the Poor to follow the dictates of ObamaCare against their Christian religion are two well-remembered examples among a multitude .
Additionally, it was recently revealed that the Obama Department of Defense was training U.S. troops to believe that Catholics and evangelical Christians are “extremists,” just like al-Qaeda and Hamas.
So the question is, why does the Obama administration, and the secular Left in general, favor Muslim refugees over Christian refugees?
On one level it seems counterintuitive. After all, Sharia law is much more at odds with favorite progressive causes such as feminism than even evangelical Christianity. In the West, we debate issues such as whether university women’s athletics should be funded at the same level as men’s. But in countries where Islam is the majority religion, such as Saudi Arabia, women cannot even legally drive an automobile, not to mention take part in any sports, exposing their legs up past their knees.
Liberals generally supported the jailing of a Kentucky county clerk for refusing to issue a marriage license to couples of the same sex. On the other hand, a same-sex couple asking for a blessing of marriage in lands controlled by ISIS, or even in nations as modern as Iran, would most likely be beheaded.
One possible answer is that the Left and extremist Islam have a common enemy: Christianity. Perhaps those on the Left believe that Islam poses no threat to their globalist plans of a world government, but that devout Christians do.
Some have suggested that Obama’s ideology sees Christianity as the principal creator of Western civilization, which he despises. Many have now forgotten the statement of former UN Ambassador Andrew Young that he longed for the destruction of western civilization. At the time, that statement caused quite a stir. But does this express the philosophical position of Obama?
After all, the president said on the eve of his election in 2008, that a “fundamental transformation” of America was about to begin. And that is the one campaign promise he kept.
But on the subject of Mid-East refugees, as former Texas Congressman Ron Paul observed recently, “If Obama wants to take in refugees from Syria, there are plenty of rooms in the White House.”
Perhaps if President George W. Bush had followed Paul’s non-interventionist foreign policy back in 2003, we would not be dealing with a Syrian refugee crisis today, and Christians would be freely practicing their faith in Syria and Iraq.
In fact, we might not be dealing with President Barack Obama.
Steve Byas is a professor of history at Hillsdale Free Will Baptist College in Moore, Oklahoma. His recent book, History’s Greatest Libels, challenges many of the ways that the Left has twisted history.