Despite much hand-wringing by Republican leadership, the GOP is actually complicit in the persecution of Christians in the Middle East because of its vocal support for Israel, argues Doug Bandow in a Forbes essay Saturday.
Bandow rightly notes that Christians are the most persecuted religious group in the world today and are “harassed and harmed in more than 100 countries.” Christians, he writes, “are particularly vulnerable to government abuse, especially in Muslim-majority states.”
Yet Bandow takes issue with Marco Rubio’s Christmas Eve article denouncing attacks on Christian communities, contending that the GOP, rather than the Obama administration (or the Islamist radicals themselves), is to blame for Christian persecution.
The policies implemented by the Republican party “have hurt and will continue to hurt Christians around the world,” Bandow writes. Particularly odious, he declares, is former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, “who actively aids Israeli settlers in the West Bank, harming Christian and Muslim Palestinians alike.”
Bandow also takes issue with Texas Ted Cruz, “who last year used a conference of persecuted Christians as a campaign prop to proclaim his everlasting fealty to Israel.”
As presidential contender Donald Trump and others have done, the author notes that the invasion of Iraq was particularly injurious to Middle Eastern Christians, asserting that without “George W. Bush’s Iraq folly,” the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) “wouldn’t even exist.”
Bandow seems to suggest, however, that upholding any position that the Islamic State finds unacceptable somehow makes a person or group guilty of the atrocities that ISIS carries out. The only stance that would not bring about this effect, however, would be a platform of radical appeasement.
If Forbes wishes to propose that Christians hide their beliefs, that Americans never speak of jihadist carnage and the belief system behind them, or that U.S. politicians abandon support for Israel, it is, of course, free to do so. But Americans, including members of the GOP, are also free to respectfully and forcefully disagree.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome.