Persecution on Our Road to Damascus

Posted: Sep 13, 2013 12:01 AM

President Obama has apparently decided to change another of Ronald Reagan's policies. President Reagan famously said "Trust but Verify" when dealing with the Russians. With President Obama, our new policy will be to "Trust the Russians to Verify" whether Syria's Assad has complied with UN directives on chemical weapons.


The President's confused and confusing speech this week raised more questions than it answered. One of the most important questions isn't even being asked by our foreign policy elites: Why should the U.S. back the Syrian rebels who are slaughtering Christians in that war-racked country?  Why should any American Christian support going to war for these rebels in Syria?


Until the Russians threw Mr. Obama a lifeline, we were preparing to align ourselves with persecutors of Christians in that country’s civil war. Bashar al-Assad has committed heinous crimes, to be sure, including the use of chemical weapons. But he has not aggressively persecuted Christians--as the rebels have done and are doing. Hundreds of thousands of Christians in Syria are in danger. Many of them have lived in that country since biblical times. 


Tens of thousands of Christians in Syria are refugees from Iraq. The U.S. invasion of Iraq has been a catastrophe for the two million Christians who once lived precariously there. How bad must post-Saddam Iraq be when only 400,000 Christians are left there? And we must always remember that U.S. arms helped bring about the destruction of this ancient Christian community.


The victory of the rebel jihadists in Syria can only bring more death and persecution to these historic church communities.


Unlike Secretary John Kerry, we should never have held out hope that Bashar al-Assad would be “a reformer.” Conservatives remember what his father had done to secure power in 1982. Hafez al-Assad massacred more than 20,000 people in a ruthless display of bloodletting in the city of Hama.


Hafez al-Assad was only the latest in the long line of Mideast despots. We see his like in the story of King Herod, who was willing to slaughter infants by the hundreds in order to hold onto his shaky throne. What is different today is chemical weapons and cell phones. Not the evil that these brutal rulers do.


Secretary Chuck Hagel says if we go to war, it will be to "degrade their [Assad's forces'] capability" Has there ever been a foggier goal for military action? What does that mean? Are we sure that in the course of degrading their capability we will not be degrading our own? Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) warns that with Obama’s drastic cuts to our military, we cannot adequately deal with the predictable consequences of a military strike on Assad.


Can President Obama justify the loss of a single American life in order to "degrade their capability"? Sen. McCain "guarantees" they are moderates. What does moderate mean in the Mideast? We have the Muslim Brotherhood chieftain in Egypt saying--so moderately--there should be no chopping off of hands in the first five years of his party's rule.


Democracy can  never take root in a country where most of the people believe their neighbors who worship differently should be killed. Purple fingers may cast ballots, but if they also burn churches, there will be no shoots of democracy coming up from the sand in any Arab Spring.


Mr. Kerry has compared the need for action in Syria to the refusal of the Roosevelt administration to give refuge to the stranded Jews aboard the vessel Saint Louis. That is almost an obscene comparison. No Jews could survive in the regime that would be set up by the jihadists he wants us to aid. And soon, no Christians will be tolerated, either.


When Saul of Tarsus rode to Damascus in order to kill the Christians there, Jesus appeared to him in a blinding light. "Why are you persecuting me?" Jesus asked him. The Lord saw the murders that Saul planned as direct attacks on Jesus Himself.


Now, we Christians in America are asked to support forces in Syria whose murderous plans for the Christians in Damascus are clear. And instead of seeing Roman soldiers casting lots for Jesus' robe around the foot of the Cross, we can see our own senators playing video poker as they plot their next move.