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Bowing to Persecutors Endangers Christians

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

President Obama’s statement of personal faith in Jesus as his Lord and Savior at the congressional prayer breakfast in February was all that a believer could ask for. The evident sincerity of Mr. Obama’s testimony stands in stark contrast to his infamous bow before King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia two years ago.

Cynics in this capital city said Mr. Obama’s profession of Christian belief represents less of his own road-to-Damascus experience and more of his awareness that the road-to-Des Moines is stretching out before him. The Iowa Caucuses are just a year away.

I prefer to quote Queen Elizabeth I on such matters: I have no window to look into men’s souls. Given the earnestness with which Mr. Obama spoke of his faith, we need not attack it. But we are also taught to judge the tree by its fruits.

The murder in Pakistan of that Muslim country’s only Christian Cabinet member shows again what we are reaping from President Obama’s infamous low bow to the Saudi king.

Yet, President Obama continues to assure us that Islam is about “tolerance.” What has Abdullah to do with Pakistan?

Abdullah is head of a thoroughly anti-Christian government where persecution is government policy. No crosses, no Bibles, no crucifixes are even permitted in his kingdom. Well, let me amend that. If you are convicted of apostasy in Saudi Arabia, you will be beheaded and your body will be “crucified” (their word)—but not on a cross.

In Egypt, President Obama gave a famous speech at Cairo University. Yet there Coptic Christians are attacked and murdered on Christmas. In his speech President Obama ignored the record of the now ousted Hosni Mubarak, who showed a blind eye to Christian persecution for thirty years.

In Iraq, roughly half the Christian population of the country has fled under the threat of Islamic persecution. Christians who have lived there since the days of the Apostles are in mortal danger.

When he’s not dealing with Muslims, but with Communists, President Obama’s record is no better. Cuban democracy advocate Orlando Zapata died last year of a hunger strike in Castro’s prison. He suffered daily beatings. The Christian Zapata was described as being “tattooed with blows.”

If this administration really cares about human rights, why was there no outcry for Zapata? Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-Fla.), to his great credit, joined with Cuban-Americans in denouncing Castro’s persecution of Christians.

Now, Alan Gross, is facing a 20-year prison sentence in Havana. Gross is an American Jew. Israel’s Haaretz newspaper has shown greater concern for Alan Gross’ fate, it seems, than Mr. Obama’s State Department.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee. She is not impressed with the Obama administration’s attempts at appeasing the Castro brothers:

“This administration’s insistence on continually reaching out to the Cuban tyranny and seeking to ease restrictions is rewarding the despotic Castro brothers while at the same time undermining U.S. interests and security.”

The Obama administration can be quite eloquent on the subject of human rights. The president said in his statement on the recent mass demonstrations in Egypt that “I believe that the Egyptian people want the same things that we all want—a better life for ourselves and our children, and a government that is fair and just and responsive.”

The problem with such lovely words is that they don’t square with his administration’s actions. Nor do they equate to reality in Egypt. Egyptians are quick to tell Pew Poll researchers that they, too, favor human rights, that they support a free press and regular, popular elections.

But these same Egyptians—84 percent of them—tell the Pew Foundation pollsters that anyone who converts to Christianity or Judaism from Islam should be put to death.

People who want to kill their neighbors for changing their religion or practicing a different religion will never enjoy democracy. America settled this issue in 1786 with the famous Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom, whose principles were affirmed in 1787 in our Constitution, and again in 1791 in our Bill of Rights.

Failure to take seriously the need for religious freedom will doom any attempts at democracy. The grounding of human liberty rests in the belief that our rights come from God.

Mr. Obama’s personal faith sounds sincere, but his actions are wanting. Freedom-loving peoples throughout the world suffer as a result.

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