Call it a Christmas miracle. President Obama — yes, that one — just issued a statement acknowledging the persecution of Christians by ISIS.
Via The Hill:
President Obama lamented the persecution of Christians worldwide, specifically by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, in a statement the day before Christmas Eve.
“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.The president has often faced criticism from Republican rivals, including presidential hopefuls, for not doing enough to help Christians being persecuted in the Middle East by radical Muslim terrorists.
“Christians who are being targeted, for genocide, for persecution, Christians who are being beheaded or crucified, we should be providing safe haven to them,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said in November during an interview on Fox News after the Paris terror attacks.“But President Obama refuses to do that,” he added, calling the president “unwilling” to specifically call out radical Islamic terror.
In the statement, Obama noted that during the build-up to Christmas, “those 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 said.
We have written here frequently about the seemingly blind eye the president — and indeed, much of the world — has to the growing persecution of Christians at the hand of ISIS. And, indeed, the persecution of American Christians at the hands of our own government — the bakers fined by the state for exercising their First Amendment rights, for example or the students whose chapel was “cleansed” of Christianity.
And the increasing feeling, backed by evidence, that while our nation is built on the foundation of freedom of religion, some religions may be more equal than others.
A skeptical person (like myself) might suggest that President Obama’s words, on this eve of Christmas Eve, are only an attempt to manage public relations around the criticism he’s rightfully received on this issue — and perhaps would call this pandering. Nonetheless, let’s be grateful in this Christmas season that — whatever his reasons for doing it — he’s calling attention to this very real issue.
And pray that those words will be backed by action. The first step is acknowledging the problem…
‘Tis the season for hope. (And generosity — which I am trying to demonstrate in my attitude toward our president. It’s not easy, but I’m trying.)
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]