U.S. Evangelicals See Political, Religious Cause in Syria Conflict

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Catholic Father Paolo Dall’Oglio of Syria’s Mar Musa monastery stood before Rock Springs Congregational United Church of Christ in Arlington, Virginia, on July 23 and pleaded for U.S. intervention in his homeland’s escalating civil war. Already half of Syria’s two million Christians have fled, he said, comparing the exodus of Christians to the one out of Iraq. “It is already too late—but we must do something to save what can be saved,” he told the 250 Christians and Muslims in attendance. “We need the help of the international community…otherwise only the weapons will dictate the destiny of my country.”

Dall’Oglio is not alone in his frustration with the Obama Administration’s approach to the Arab Spring uprisings. Egyptian Christians picketed Hillary Clinton’s visit to Cairo last month, claiming that the U.S. supported Islamists over other civil democratic parties—protesters pelted her motorcade with shoes and tomatoes, Coptic Christian leaders issued an outraged statement, and an evangelical leader and a Coptic bishop refused to meet with her.

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Christian conservatives in the U.S are also increasingly concerned about the violence in Syria. “The churches in Syria are suffering greatly from persecution,” Franklin Graham, an evangelist and head of Samaritan’s Purse, tells TIME, recounting a conversation he had with a Syrian pastor who gave him “numerous accounts of Christians who have been murdered by members of the Muslim Brotherhood…I urge people to join me in praying for the church in Syria as these Christians feel like there is no safe place to go.”

Jordan Sekulow, Executive Director of the American Center for Law and Justice, an organization founded by Pat Robertson that advocates for religious freedoms, thinks the U.S. should be more directly involved in the conflict. “We should not underestimate the influence western countries have with either the Assad regime or the Syrian opposition,” says Sekulow. “As the United States, a country that prides itself in liberty for all, we must apply pressure on any future ruling party to guarantee that Syrian Christians and other religious minorities retain all human rights within the future Syrian society.”

Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, was more blunt.  “America should make clear to the Syrian rebel forces, which we are now providing with at least logistical support, that we will not countenance Christian persecution as, somehow, an acceptable price for the overthrow of President Assad,” he says. “Persecution of Christians in Islamic countries seems to be an afterthought in our foreign policy, in violation of the essential principles of religious liberty and human dignity that are at the core of who we are as a nation.” Before the U.S. cooperates with a new Syrian regime, he continues, it needs “ironclad assurances that the Christians of Syria will enjoy the same protections and benefits as all the rest of Syria’s citizens.”

While this criticism of the Obama Administration is widespread among these conservative evangelical groups, Mitt Romney has not sought to capitalize on it. While he has stepped up efforts to display his foreign policy credentials in the Middle East this past week, Romney has remained mostly mum on Syria. He has not joined Sen. John McCain’s call for airstrikes or safe zones. He skirted Syria in his speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention last week in Nevada, touted by his campaign as a marker on his foreign policy. Romney has said that Obama has “abdicated leadership” on Syria, but he—like the Administration—has thus far not advocated U.S. military involvement.

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Mahmoud Khattab, chairman of the Syrian American Council, a co-sponsor of Dall’Oglio’s address, suggests that the presidential campaign is impeding U.S. willingness to intervene. “Unless the United States moves, things will get messy,” he cautions. “The whole world is waiting for the leadership of the United States.” And many evangelical leaders in the United States are waiting to see who will take up their cause.

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polnick
polnick

There are 200 thousand Roman Catholics in Egypt and 350 thousand in Syria; they are not to be confused with the Copts. All are in danger of being abused by new administrations.

johnston1212
johnston1212

Sounds like world war two all over again.

Kyle
Kyle

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Khunianb
Khunianb

As the Muslim Brotherhood is a mainstay of the rebels this is what the future holds.  The whole basis of Assad's regime was sectarian rule via the Baath party - this ensured protection of minorities.

The US is supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and their Saudi Wahhabi masters and even now - Al Qaeda!!

Stop the madness before it is too late!

Chosun1
Chosun1

The destruction of Christian homes and churches, and massacre of Christians across N. Africa and the Middle East, is a very real thing that the leftist (anti-Christian) media of the US largely ignores.  It appears to be something the Obama Administration doesn't mind one bit, thus the protests of Secretary Clinton in Egypt.

zyan
zyan

So according to Graham, Robertson, etcetera, we should come to the rescue of people in war zones if they are Christian. If they happen to be some other religion, screw them and God bless.

Chosun1
Chosun1

They're actually sick and tired of the US sticking up for Muslims at the expense of Christians (and Jews) across North Africa and the Middle East.

Abso Lutely
Abso Lutely

The religious nuts in this world, especially the

U.S., are getting crazier by the day.  We

need to rid society of this dangerous vermin.

Fatesrider
Fatesrider

Damascus is the only warm-water port Russia has for its navy.  It's also the only place in the Middle East where they have ANY welcome or influence (mostly because of the money they pay to the regime to keep their base there).  Since Russia isn't Muslim, if the rubles stop flowing, their welcome would be very short-lived.

This has very little to do with religion or even politics.  It has to do with money - at least at the very heart of it.  Oil money.

Let's face it, if there wasn't oil in the region, no one would be talking about Syria (or any other Middle Eastern country) imploding.  At present consumption, we have about 50-80 years of oil left out of known deposits.  The oil that's there is getting harder and harder to extract.  If the demand returns to pre-recession levels, we'll run out in under 40 years.  Some estimates put that at as low as 25 years.

Given that oil is a finite resources, companies that extract it are vying for position to get it and governments that sit on top of it are vying to stay in power to reap the financial rewards of selling it.  In Iraq, the United States wanted their oil.  The Bush administration actually believed the people would welcome them as liberators and the oil companies would have free access to the Iraqi oil fields.  But at the heart of it, oil was the primary motivator for the Iraq war.  It didn't work out.

This much has already been documented.

Now Russia want's to stay "relevant" in the region because the Russian oil fields are drying up.  China is on the side of current regimes, too, for the same reason: they both want friendly governments in the region so they can get oil for their countries and it's easier to back an established regime than help put in a new one.

All of the rest of the rhetoric, religious, political, humanitarian, whatever, is just window dressing without regard for the realities.  We're running out of oil.  The Middle East still has quite a bit and will get richer selling it.  Countries want that oil (instead of doing the rational thing and moving away from oil), and will fight (as did the U.S. in Iraq) or negotiate (as the Russians and Chinese are doing) to get it.

But make no mistake.  As oil gets scarcer, the wars will get worse (ironically using that much more oil) and a hell of a lot of people are going to die before we wake the hell up and figure out it's better to get off our reliance on a limited resource than it is to fight over what little remains.

bobell
bobell

Syria has a Mediterranean coastline, but Damascus is inland. So is Aleppo, if that matters.

carlloeber
carlloeber

President

Obama .. do you not think the Syrian people are worthy of freedom .. ?

Are they not possessed of the inalienable rights that the American

founders proclaimed .. these are humans Mr. President .  .I have been to

Syrian myself and have never met a better people .. I am disgusted to

watch the inaction of the White House ..  

President

Obama is to blame.. too much a coward to do anything during the

re-election .. so he should agree with Romney to come together and make a

joint announcement that they both agree that the US should take

military action and lead with air power .. John McCain will give them

guidance if the President can't figure out what to do ..

President

Obama should have acted to stop the murder more than 400 days ago .. by

sending in drones for the dictator's palaces in Damascus .. instead

President Obama has descended into ignominious cowardice ..

Did

the Kremlin wait to get UN approval when they went sent tanks into

Georgia in 2008 ? Why is President Obama handcuffed by the Kremlin ? we

can only say that it is because he does not want to save the Syrians ..

he does not want to send in drones .. he does not want to risk

re-election chances and thinks he can shirk his responsibility as leader

of the free world ..

Who

does President Obama and the West depend on the save the Syrian

children ? The same man who the US depended to save the Rwandan and

Bosnian children ..  

Syrian

authorities are systematically detaining and torturing children, the

United Nations' human rights chief, Navi Pillay, has told the BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/worl......  

President

Obama has allowed this to happen .. he has given free rein to the

dictators in Damascus and abandoned the Syrian people .. he said the

right things when he lead the charge against Qaddafi .. but has let his

re-election rule his moral sense on Syria ..

It

is disgraceful cowardice unbecoming of the leader of the home of the

brave .. He could have shot back at the Damascus dictators 487 days ago

when they started shooting innocent protesters .. He could have sent

cruise missiles and drones to attack the palace of the dictator and his

tanks and artillery .. He and the other leaders of the West meekly bow

to the Kremlin and Chinese dictators .. instead they only strain their

intelligence coming up with new words to say how horrible are the Syrian

dictators' atrocities ..

March

28, 2011, President Obama said .. "when people were being brutalized in

Bosnia in the 1990s, it took the international community more than a

year to intervene with air power to protect civilians."

www.whitehouse.gov/photos-and-...

“To

brush aside America’s responsibility as a leader and — more profoundly —

our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such

circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are,” (Except in an

election year?)

“Some

nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other

countries. The United States of America is different,” (Except in an

election year?)  

2011: “And as president, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.” 2012: Coward

3xfire3
3xfire3

Carl

Swampland is the wrong place to look for the brave. It is made up almost exclusively of Left Wing Cowards. That's why Obama is so popular here.

jsfox
jsfox

And another right wing chicken hawk squeaks

bobell
bobell

Tell us about all those brave military men in the Romney family, 3X.  Not that I think it such a big deal, but I did my three years of active duty (back when that was the standard first enlistment).

What is it about backing Obama that makes someone a coward -- or, if you prefer, what is it about being a coward that makes people back Obama?  Pick one and give us some particulars.

josiev
josiev

are you kidding with that line of crap?  the u.s. is already in 2 wars it sould not have ever been in. this country has already spent 1 trillion $$ , has had 5000 americans killed and 40,000 americans maimed....    you want to help the syrians...well good luck to you...buy youself a plain ticket, find yourself an arms dealer and have at it rambo......   maybe you could get some of these good ol' christian chickenhawks to go with you..... 

josiev
josiev

oops ...that should have been plane ticket...

sacredh
sacredh

josiev, If you sign in under DISQUS, you can hit the EDIT icon and correct the original text.

ARTraveler
ARTraveler

carlloebert, what has kept you from going to Turkey and slipping across the border.  When you wrap up the Syria thing, then we can send you to the other 20 places where one religious group doesn't like another and that includes the US.

No one has the right to suggest that the US should be the religious police.  But don't let that stop you.  Isreal and Iran both have religious police so feel right at home.

Dan Bruce
Dan Bruce

Evangelicals and priests who advocate for mlitary intervention in Syria should beat  a path to the nearest recruiting office and sign up.

Hollywooddeed
Hollywooddeed

Exactly. Let them suit up and go to war. Leave my sons and daughters alone.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©
ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

There's no reason I should worry just because all the same idiots who cheer lead our debacle in Iraq now want us to go to war with Syria, is there?

P.S. The Neocon 7 country hit list

http://www.salon.com/2011/11/2...

Iraq

Syria

Lebanon

Libya

Somalia

Sudan

Iran

~

Ivy_B
Ivy_B

I can't believe the dopes who want to elect Mitt don't realize this.

sacredh
sacredh

I think there are quite a few things they don't realize.

sacredh
sacredh

Where's California and New York?

bobell
bobell

Too secular, sacred. The neo-cons are looking for states dominated by religion, like much of the Old South.  Watch out in South Carolina, folks.

Mike P
Mike P

hey J Sekulow, Frank Graham, Tony Perkins, et al why dont you gear up and fight along side the rebels then? Put your lives on the line for your principles; become mercenaries for your god..But we shouldnt expect that to happen any time soon because that would mean giving up your lucrative, tax-exempt life here in the US.

apr2563
apr2563

OK LET'S GO!!

First in battle:

Mitt's boys

All of age children of neo-cons

All age eligible students at Evangelical colleges

All pedophile priests

All eligible children of chickenhawks and some chickenhawks

Since God is on their side, that should be all the forces needed. 

pollardty
pollardty

and especially Tebow. He may be all that is needed.

sacredh
sacredh

You didn't hear about Tebow and the tranny hookers? One underaged.

sacredh
sacredh

bobell, FTW. I'd never cheat on Mrs. sacredh. She knows when I'm trying to sneak a cookie before they've cooled. Another woman? She'd know about it before it even occurred to me. Not that it has anything to do with sex, but back in May my wife went out drinking with my ex. I was on 4-12. I got home at 12:15 and jumped in the shower. I was just getting out and heard them come in upstairs. The door to the downstairs opened and she yelled down if I was presentable. I said I just got out of the shower. She said to hurry up and put something on. I said OK and then they came down. The only thing I had on was my John Deere ballcap. The ex thought it was funny. The wife, not so much.

bobell
bobell

Thanks for the advice, sacred.  Now you will all know why I won't be posting for the next few hours.

PS - Don't tell Mrs. bobell; what she doesn't know won't hurt her.

sacredh
sacredh

I shouldn't make fun of Tebow. I do think he's really trying to be a good person. OTOH, staying a virgin until you're married? My God, what if you get hit by a car and killed. Sex is one of the things a person should absolutely make sure they experience. Don't risk it. Do it now.

pollardty
pollardty

probably doing missionary work...or trying. Likely unsuccessful.

MomentoMori
MomentoMori

Where were they when this was happening?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U...

Oh yeah, when they say "religious freedom" they mean Christians should be free to persecute whoever they want, and free from prosecution by others.

Paul Dirks
Paul Dirks

an organization founded by Pat Robertson that advocates for religious freedoms,

Shamelessly wrong. They do no such thing!

sacredh
sacredh

I'm sure that they do advocate religious freedom. Just for themselves, of course.

Maritza McLaughli
Maritza McLaughli

This should be cause for concern because there are few on the world stage as dangerous as the American religious right...MomentDifference.blogspot.com

gracetoday
gracetoday

How many people is the american religious right murdering these days?

bobell
bobell

Just out of curiosity, does anyone remember the position taken by American Christian churches when the Syrians drove out their country's entire Jewish community?

Dan Bruce
Dan Bruce

Christian churches (and all too many synagogues) kept quiet during the expulsion of Jews from Arab lands after the 1948 war, when Arab nations attacked the new nation of Israel. More than 700,000 Jews had to leave Arab lands. The world still remains silent about that injustice.

sacredh
sacredh

The Christ killers had it coming?

bobell
bobell

Maybe so, but that wasn't what the Muslims said.

One of my colleagues many years ago was a Syrian Jew who was expelled while a little boy.  His family wound up in Israel, of course.  He and they nurtured a vibrant hatred of Syrian Arab Muslims.

The Arabs resisted the formation of Israel, literally to the death, but Israel did them a great service in allowing them to expel their Jews without resorting to genocide.  If you were to check a census of world Jewry shortly after the end of the Shoah, you'd discover large and vibrant Jewish communities all over the Arab lands of the Middle East.  No more.

Welcome to history, Christians of Syria.

sacredh
sacredh

bobell, I think the entire middle east is the Hatfields and McCoys. Grudge upon grudge and nobody forgets anything. When an opportunity presents itself to "get even", they do.

sacredh
sacredh

Getting directly involved in another country's civil war is seldom a good idea. Usually, it's a terrible idea. Getting involved in Syria's civil war for the express purpose of protecting a minority religious group (Christians) plays well here, but it's hardly going to help whatever influence we have in the region.

Christopher Fisher
Christopher Fisher

I really could care less if Syrian Christians get killed. It's unfortunate and all, but they should never have allied themselves with a dictator. 

MrObvious
MrObvious

Thinking leads to smartness. No good.

kbanginmotown
kbanginmotown

Once you start shuddering when you think, it's all downhill from there...

sacredh
sacredh

I've resisted that temptation so far.

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

Stop being rational!

sacredh
sacredh

OK. Peels off clothes, sticks thumbs in ears, waves fingers and runs around the room screaming "They're coming! They're coming!". Good Lord, that tires an old feller out.

gumOnShoe
gumOnShoe

It's like seeing a fly on your ceiling and pulling out a shotgun with a round full of BBs. Sure, you might get the fly, but you have more black specks on your ceiling when you're done than when you started.

sacredh
sacredh

The simple truth is that people are ignorant and borderline stupid. Syria is a powder keg. I hate seeing any group being driven from their homes and forced to flee. It's Christians in Syria. Why didn't we get involved in Egypt? Because it wasn't Christians being targeted?

.

It's all fine and dandy for Christians over here to sit in an air-conditioned church and complain about our government not doing something to protect "our" people over there. They're not our people. They're christians, but they're not American Christians. Is the government and the military supposed to be at the beck and call of religious leaders to protect foreign Christians?

.

They want our military to go in and risk life and limb because foreign Christians are in danger? It's easy to commit someone else when it's not your @ss on the line.