Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky has become the first public figure to openly declare what Christians have been bemoaning for the last generation – that there is a war against Christianity.
Speaking Thursday before a gathering of the Faith and Freedom Coalition in Washington, D.C., Sen. Paul said, “There is a war on Christianity, not just from liberal elites here at home, but worldwide.”
Said Paul, “It saddens me to see countries that are supposedly our allies persecute Christians.”
Catholics and born-again Christians have talked about the danger for years. In the 1990s, during my stint in the White House as special assistant to the president, I was constantly called on to help Christians who were thrown into prisons or slated for execution all over the world.
Meanwhile, representatives of Christian ministries in the U.S. visited the White House complaining that they had been targeted by the IRS, a fact that the agency actually confirmed to us at the time, without shame. When we tried to find an evangelical Christian who worked in a top position at the agency who could help us understand the nature of the complaints, we learned that there was only one known, born-again Christian in the top 300 positions at the IRS. At the time 38 percent of the nation claimed to be born-again.
It turns out that the token born-again Christian at the IRS was a regional director in the non-profit division and a Catholic charismatic by personal faith. He tried to help the agency understand that it could not dictate doctrine or discriminate against groups based on their faith. We had two meetings with him at the White House and kept the president apprised. I think back to that moment as I now try to grasp the fact that top IRS officials visited the White House more than 300 times under Barack Obama and supposedly never discussed with the president their illegal bias against conservative groups including their questions about what applicants said in their prayers.
In his speech, Sen. Paul offered a litany of abuses by American allies.
“In Pakistan, Asia Bibi, a Christian, sits on death row. Her crime, according to her, is that she dared to drink from a glass that belonged to a Muslim co-worker.
“Recently, in Pakistan, a 12-year-old with Down syndrome was imprisoned and charged with a death penalty crime for burning the Quran.
“After weeks she was released after a local imam was accused of actually sprinkling pages from an Arabic book into a fire near the little girl.”
Paul is the first public official to suggest a legislative solution: “My bill said that Libya, Egypt, and Pakistan would get no more foreign aid from the U.S. taxpayer unless they turned over the assassins that killed our ambassador, pledged and verified that they CAN and WILL protect our embassies, and in the case of Pakistan they must release Dr. Afridi.”
Afridi is the man who helped us identify Osama bin Laden. He was tortured and in chains for a year without being charged and is even now in prison in Pakistan.
As obvious as it may be to stand up for Christians (25 percent of the USA are Catholic, 48 percent claim to be born-again Christians), Sen. Paul is practically alone in his work. Ninety percent of the Senate voted against his bill that would have placed restrictions on foreign aid to nations that execute Christians.
“It angers me to see my tax dollars supporting regimes that put Christians to death,” Paul said. “And your government, or more correctly, you, the taxpayer, are funding it.”
Sen. Paul warned against a foreign policy that sometimes has good intentions that backfire.
“Before the Arab Spring, Christianity flourished in small outposts, like the Coptic Christians in Egypt. I had hoped that the Arab Spring would bring freedom to long-oppressed people throughout the Middle East, but I fear the Arab Spring is becoming an Arab winter.
“Today, Christians in Iraq, Libya, Egypt and Syria are on the run – persecuted or under fire – and yet, we continue to send aid to the folks chasing them.
“The new leader of Egypt is Mohammed Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Recently, he stood by when a radical cleric said a prayer for the destruction of Israel and her supporters in his presence.
“Actually, it is worse, he did not just stand by; he was seen to mouth the word ‘Amen’ as the cleric said these words of hatred.
“How does your government respond?
“The bipartisan consensus in Washington vows to increase Egypt’s funding. The president is currently requesting a billion-dollar increase in aid to Egypt. This is an outrage!”
The senator admitted that his bold stand had made him unpopular in Washington, and while his famous filibuster and other stands on civil liberties have given him exposure his father never had, his concern about the torture and execution of Christians in allied nations has been panned by the media.
“It is clear that American taxpayer dollars are being used to enable a war on Christianity in the Middle East, and I believe that must end.”