I guess you could call it progress …

On Christmas Eve, Barack Obama issued a statement denouncing the persecution of Christians in the Middle East.

But, as they say, the devil is in the details.

“In some areas of the Middle East where church bells have rung for centuries on Christmas Day, this year they will be silent,” Obama said. “This silence bears tragic witness to the brutal atrocities committed against these communities by ISIL.”

The statement came after some Republicans have criticized Obama for opening America’s doors to tens of thousands of mostly Sunni Muslim “refugees” fleeing war-torn Iraq and Syria – but not the most severely persecuted religious minority in the Middle East. That persecution most often comes at the hands of Sunni Muslim groups and governments.

“Christians who are being targeted, for genocide, for persecution, Christians who are being beheaded or crucified, we should be providing safe haven to them,” said Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a top-tier GOP presidential candidate last month. “But President Obama refuses to do that.”

Obama’s statement, meanwhile, went on to say: “[T]hose of us fortunate enough to live in countries that honor the birthright of all people to practice their faith freely give thanks for that blessing. Michelle and I are also ever-mindful that many of our fellow Christians do not enjoy that right, and hold especially close to our hearts and minds those who have been driven from their ancient homelands by unspeakable violence and persecution.”

He closed with a prayer for those of all faiths facing persecution and evoked a line from the popular Christmas carol, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.”

“The Wrong shall fail, the Right prevail. With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

So what’s wrong with Obama’s statement, besides it being late?

  • First of all, it’s just words. Christians are being killed and driven from their homes and churches on a daily basis in the Middle East – and not just in ISIS country. Yet, the Obama administration is not making room for these refugees in the U.S. It seems more than strange that the U.S. welcomes overwhelmingly Sunni Muslims, the group nearly always associated with persecution of religious minorities in the Middle East, but not Christians.
  • Secondly, notice Obama only cited ISIS, or ISIL, as he is fond of calling the Sunni terrorist group, as the threat to Christians in the Middle East. This is just not true. Christians are systematically persecuted throughout the Sunni Muslim world – from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan and throughout Africa and including the Palestinian Authority, a territory subsidized with U.S. taxpayer dollars and favored for future statehood by Obama.

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It’s certainly disingenuous, at the least, to blame ISIS for all the anti-Christian persecution in the Middle East. In Brunei, Christians who in any way observe Christmas face a five-year prison sentence. Saudi Arabia prohibits Christian worship of any kind. There’s not a single church in the country. Ironically, one of the countries in the Middle East that protects religious minorities, including Christians, is Syria – a nation Obama has desperately sought regime change, a bombing campaign to support it and training and funding for groups allied with ISIS in a campaign to overthrow Bashar Assad’s beleaguered government.

It’s kind of crazy.

So, just issuing a Christmas message deploring the persecution of believers in Syria and Iraq – two countries the Obama administration has messed up badly with its incoherent policies that have actually helped ISIS – rings a little hollow.

More meaningful would be a suspension of the discriminatory Sunni Muslim “refugee” program and the creation of one that will actually help alleviate the suffering of real refugees – those who pose no security threat to the U.S.

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