Our national government wants to involve us in a conflict without victory for any side or anyone in the Middle East. Regardless of how that effort is spun, we see it as an escalation leading into a no-win war involving every nation.
While the US teeters on military action in Syria, one population is pleading with the West to reconsider: its native Christians. As the situation deteriorates in the Middle East, the Syrian Christian community is exposed, vulnerable and, worst of all, shrinking. Finding themselves in the crossfires of a civil war they did not start, one that threatens to purge the country of a religious population whose only desire is peaceful coexistence with others, members of the oldest Christian churches on earth are fleeing their homeland in droves. Those who haven’t been driven out of the region live in fear of physical attack, maiming, rape, imprisonment, torture and kidnapping.
Unfortunately for them, America’s foreign policy has a history of ignoring the plight of Middle East Christians – most recently in Iraq, where their numbers have dwindled from one million people before the Iraq War to less than 400,000 today. In Egypt, the US has stood by and watched as 1,600 year-old churches are destroyed and the church is left, not only without the protection of the government, but also as the extremists’ greatest target.
Powerless to stop the persecution, Christians have two options: Flee or be killed. Neighborhoods that were once home to Syria’s faithful are virtual ghost towns now. One local Christian says families rushed to pack up their possessions with “little plan to come back” to where rebels roamed the streets, terrorizing their families.
Meanwhile, the brave men and women who refuse to uproot their families continue to ask for help – to no avail. “We spoke to Western diplomats asking for help, and everyone ignored us,” one Syrian Christian said.
Unsurprisingly, the Obama administration, which has shown little interest in protecting religious liberties in this country, continues to ignore the rights of Christians overseas.
As the Syria debate presses on in Congress, we urge members to take into consideration the plight of these Christians, who are trying to live out their faith in the midst of one of the worst human-rights crises of modern times.