By William J. Murray
Christians make up 12 percent of Syria's population of 23 million. That is greater than the 10 percent in Egypt. There are nearly 3 million Christians in Syria, and they hold an even greater percentage of government positions. Because Christians tend to have smaller and more educated families, they tend to fare better than Muslim families. The women of the Christian community are much better-educated and thus are better prepared in turn to educate their children.
Christians hold influential positions in the ruling Baath Party in Syria, as they did in Iraq before our intervention there. The Baath Party is in many ways authoritarian and represses freedom, but it is secular in nature. As was the case in Iraq before the American invasion, religious political parties are banned in Syria.
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It is the banning of religious parties that has caused the current uprising. Islamists in Syria, including the Muslim Brotherhood, have watched as attempts by the West to bring about Jeffersonian democracy in the Middle East have given Islamic organizations the opportunity to take control. The free election in Egypt, which allowed religious political parties for the first time, gave the Muslim Brotherhood and other even more conservative Islamist parties 80 percent of the seats in Parliament. The uprising since 2011 in Syria has been driven by fiery sermons from the pulpits of mosques in more Islamic conservative areas such as Homs. The revolt against President Assad is not a popular secular uprising despite the delusional visions of Sen. John McCain, President Barack Obama and the mass media.
Would the Christians of Syria prefer to live in a democracy such as the United States? Yes, but that will only occur if we open up our immigration policy and allow them to move here. The choice in Syria is the same as it was in Iraq: Live under a secular dictator or perish under Shariah law.
Christians have already been targeted in areas that have fallen to what McCain lovingly calls "the rebels." Christians have been forced from their homes, and without the rule of secular law, young Christian girls are being kidnapped and forced into Islamic marriages. The "rebels" are supported by al-Qaida and other Islamic extremist organizations.
It is for that reason that most Christian leaders in Syria have supported the current government. They face a "devil I know versus a devil I don't know" situation, but they are pretty sure that the incoming devil will probably be worse.
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Just as in Iraq, Yemen, Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, the establishment press, the radical left and the Republican hawks all want to see the "dictator" removed in Syria. They show no concern for the horror the religious minorities there will face as a result. To put it in the words of Sen. McCain, "Give the rebels guns." How is "give them guns" working in Afghanistan, Senator, where Afghan soldiers killed seven American servicemen including two field-grade officers last month with guns we furnished them? Unless we are ready to pledge our protection of the Christians of Syria, we should not be furnishing guns, or any support, to Islamist rebels or Islamic governments anywhere.
Billions in American tax dollars go to Pakistan and other nations where Christians rot in jail for religious crimes such as blasphemy and apostasy against Islam. While American tax dollars pouring into the Islamic world may make the elite there richer, our nation will continue to be the "great Satan." We can't pay enough to change the tone of the sermons in the mosques during Friday prayers that call for the destruction of the Western society.
William J. Murray is the chairman of the Washington, D.C.-based Religious Freedom Coalition and the author of seven books including a href="http://superstore.wnd.com/books/WND-Books/My-Life-Without-God-Paperback_2">"My Life Without God," which chronicles his early life in the home of destructive atheist and Marxist leader Madalyn Murray O'Hair, the woman who filed the lawsuit removing prayer and Bible reading from America's public schools. Having lived the Marxist and the Ayn Rand lifestyle, he has a unique perspective on religion and politics. Learn how to help Syria's Christians.