WASHINGTON (Christian Examiner) – President Obama's indifference to Christian persecution in the Middle East is part of a "scandal of enormous proportions," the editorial staff of the Washington Times has written in a scathing rebuke of the administration.
"Expressions of concern by the leaders of the West are few. The fact is that Christians face more persecution, in more countries, than any other religious group," the editorial said before launching into an attack on the president's human rights record with respect to Christian refugees from Syria.
Proposals to take in large numbers of Christians from the Middle East have been called a violation of the constitutional prohibition of religious favoritism. But admission of refugees has often been based on a particular ethnic group targeted by oppressors abroad. Christians constitute such a group.
Since 2011, when the United States began accepting refugees from Syria, only 2 percent (53 of 2,000) were confirmed to be Christians despite the fact that Christian refugees from Syria are generally better educated and more affluent, the paper said.
The roadblock in place is there because the president "opposes legislation which would fast-track Christian refugees, despite the fact that nearly a third of Syria's Christians, about 600,000 of them, have fled persecution by al Qaeda and the Islamic State, sometimes called ISIS or ISIL."
According to the editors, President Obama may be avoiding accepting Christian refugees to blunt the perception that the U.S. is siding with Christians in a clash of civilizations – or rather, religions. The paper, however, also blames the administration of George W. Bush which supposedly did not want to intervene in "sectarian issues."
In the wake of the terror attacks carried out by ISIS operatives in Paris Nov. 13, the president has spoken only once on the issue of Christian refugees entering the U.S., and that was to criticize Republican presidential candidates who said either that only Christian refugees should be admitted or that they should be given priority.
At the G20 Summit in Turkey, Obama said there should be no religious "litmus test" to determine which applicants are given entry.
"That's not American; it's not who we are," Obam said in a speech about his plan to vet as many as 10,000 refugees coming to the U.S.
"When I hear folks say that, well, maybe we should just admit the Christians but not the Muslims, when I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which person who's fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted, when some of those folks themselves come from families who benefitted from protection when they were fleeing persecution, that's shameful," Obama said.
The Times rejected that logic.
"Proposals to take in large numbers of Christians from the Middle East have been called a violation of the constitutional prohibition of religious favoritism. But admission of refugees has often been based on a particular ethnic group targeted by oppressors abroad. Christians constitute such a group," the paper said.
"Fear of Muslim propagandists is no excuse for allowing Christians in the Middle East to twist slowly, slowly in the wind, waiting for the executioner's scimitar. Islamic extremists, obsessed as they are with the 'crusaders' of a thousand years ago, must not intimidate President Obama and his administration. Saving Christians from 'religious' thugs and killers is a worthy and authentic human rights cause."
According to CNS News, only one of the 276 refugees admitted to the United States since the Paris attacks has been Christian.
The number of Christian refugees accepted into the U.S. isn't likely to rise any time soon, Nina Shea, director of the Center for Religious Freedom at the Hudson Institute. Shea claimed in an interview with The Hill that the Obama administration will soon designate the Islamic State's attack on Yazidi's in Syria as "genocide," but the killing of Christians will not receive the same designation.
"The Christians and the Yazidis are more like the Jews in Nazi Germany," Shea told The Hill. "They are being deliberately targeted for eradication by ISIS."
The editorial also said the media was complicit in the refugee crisis.
"The media, like the president, is blind to outrage," the paper claimed.