More than two dozen Coptic Christians were just gunned down by ISIS terrorists, who targeted them for their faith, while they were riding a bus to church.
America’s response? Tsk-tsk. Sorry to hear. But also, sorry to say — we can’t really help.
Yes, that’s an unfair characterization of the absolute horror and grief most Americans, specifically those in politics, expressed over this terror hit, which left even children dead, slaughtered for their faith. But it’s also an apt characterization of the frustration and growing anger many in this country experience every time a Christian church is exploded, every time a Christian individual is beheaded, every time a Christian congregation is bombed at some overseas terror-filled hot spot. And there have been many such situations, of late.
Why can’t America help?
Why can’t America save?
The questions rattle in an echo chamber. But truly, it’s not that we couldn’t save. It’s not that we can’t. We certainly have the military power, the diplomatic strength, the sanctioning ability, the leadership standing and — now — a bold White House command team.
It’s more that we won’t.
The simple reason is this: Saving Christians in overseas’ spots from religious-based persecution and murder would require leaders in America to admit some hard political truths — truths that would ultimately pit cherished First Amendment freedoms against the realities of Islam.
Let’s face facts. Christians aren’t being killed by their own. They’re not being persecuted by Jews, Hindus or Buddhists. No. They’re being murdered for their faith by followers of Islam — by believers who think it’s a basic religious duty to kill all the infidels, defined as those who aren’t Muslim.
Oh, Christians are also being persecuted, prosecuted, jailed, tortured and even killed by authoritarian, atheist governments, like in North Korea. But that persecution is based on government’s all-encompassing demand for loyalty — that no god, Christian or otherwise, take the top spot in citizens’ hearts over that of the dear leaders. All religions are equally hated and regarded as threats in these despotic countries.
Islam, by contrast, demands total adoration of a specific god and the simultaneous denouncement of any other faith.
“For example, in Niger, more than 98 percent of the population is Islamic, and hostility comes more from society than from the government,” Open Doors USA reports. “Historically, Islam in West Africa has been moderate, but in the last 20 years, dozens of Islamic associations have emerged, like the Izala movement, which aims to restrict the freedom of ‘deviant Muslims’ and minority religious groups like Christians.”
How do you fight that? How do you fight against a belief that is societal or cultural in nature — based on a religious demand to worship a specific entity — rather than governmental, as imposed top-down by political leaders who don’t care so much about religion as about exercising total control?
It’s not just in Muslim-dominated Niger, though, where the anti-Christianity hostility is present. It’s not just in other Muslim-dominated nations, either. It’s wherever certain Muslim populations exist, where certain Islamic beliefs persist — the beliefs that say all religions, outside of Islam, must be eradicated. That’s a heck of a battlefield, wouldn’t you say?
If America wanted to fight North Korea to free those persecuted for their religious beliefs, then the U.S. could declare war on North Korea. Our efforts would be targeted, contained, geographically defined.
But if America wanted to fight against the world-wide persecution of Christianity — where would we declare war? Against every nation with a dominant Muslim population?
Against every nation with even a minority Muslim population?
Against just those spots in the world that are home to certain types of Islam believers, but not others — against the Shiites, say, but not the Sunnis?
That’s a toughie, all right.
So basically, it’d be a war against Islam that’d ensue. It would wage in dozens upon dozens of nations, some with dominant Muslim populations, some with far, far fewer Muslims than those of other faiths, but where Christian persecution goes on just the same.
It’d be world-wide religious war. And even though many in the Islamic faith have themselves declared war on other religions — have themselves declared war on the infidels, wherever around the world they be found — returning like with like is not a direction America’s political leaders are ready to take.
Just think of the bloodshed.
But also, think of the hypocrisy.
Sure enough, it’d be a war that would ultimately land at America’s own borders, in America’s own states, at the steps of America’s own religious buildings.
Christians are being persecuted overseas for two reasons: First, some governments just don’t want to compete with God — with any religion’s god at all.
And second, adherents of Islam think it’s their religious duty to rid of the world of those of other faiths.
Fighting a government — a North Korea — may be something America can do.
But fighting a faith? Not only is that an intangible — a borderless, ever-moving, ever-shifting enemy — but it’s a fight that circles on back to America and the First Amendment, a widely loved, widely respected religious freedom that gives Muslims just as much right to exist and worship as Christians.
It’d be hypocritical for America to wage war on Islam in the name of saving Christians from persecution. We’d have to boot out all the Muslims from America to save face.
You can’t fight an enemy if you can’t name it. You can’t seriously fight an enemy overseas if you allow that same enemy to come home to your own country and roost. And outright naming and warring against Islam as a core enemy of Christianity — however honest — would eventually create a chaotic situation here in America that would either cripple and crumble the First Amendment, causing us to choose between eradicating the Islamic enemy by sending them from our country, or upholding freedom of religious expression. Or, it would entangle our government in endless civil litigation.
Bluntly speaking, saving Christians from overseas persecution is simply a too-messy situation for politicians to face.
But here’s the note of hope and optimism: There’s always Jesus. And as Romans 8:31 states, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” Governments may shy, but never so God.
First appeared at the Washington Times: