According to recently released figures from the State Dept., the United States has let in a miniscule number of Christian refugees from Syria — only 34 — during the four years since the Islamic State began its campaign of mass slaughter. Put differently, although Christians amount for 10 percent of Syria’s population—and so should at least be 10 percent of the refugees accepted into the States—only two percent of those accepted are Christians.
This disparity is being ignored by influential U.S. Christian groups. The Church World Service (CWS) and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have both called for the resettlement of 100,000 Syrian refugees in the United States next year. Yet advocacy for especially persecuted Christians is lacking among these U.S. Christian organizations.
The CWS, for example, does not even mention the special plight of Christians on its website’s call to help Syrian refugees; it primarily features pictures of Muslims. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops — which touts itself as the world’s largest refugee resettlement organization and even received $80 million from the federal government in 2014 for its Migration Fund — also often fails to mention Christians in its public advocacy for the resettlement of Syrian refugees.
Refugee Resettlement Watch charges that “The Bishops [of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops] surely are not telling local priests and parishioners that they are raking in millions of dollars of cold hard cash from federal taxpayers for refugee resettlement activities. And, they aren’t telling them that they are NOT advocating to save the persecuted Christians of Syria through this program” (emphasis in original).
When the Catholic hierarchy does mention persecuted Christians, they are often lumped in with every other group, including Muslim majorities. This approach begins with Pope Francis. Last September, when he stood before the world at the United Nations, his energy was, once again, spent on defending the environment. In his entire speech, which lasted nearly 50 minutes, only once did Francis make reference to persecuted Christians—and he merged their sufferings in the same sentence with the supposedly equal sufferings of “members of the majority religion,” that is, Sunni Muslims (the only group not to be attacked by the Islamic State, a Sunni organization). Said Francis:
I must renew my repeated appeals regarding to the painful situation of the entire Middle East, North Africa and other African countries, where Christians, together with other cultural or ethnic groups, and even members of the majority religion who have no desire to be caught up in hatred and folly, have been forced to witness the destruction of their places of worship, their cultural and religious heritage, their houses and property, and have faced the alternative either of fleeing or of paying for their adhesion to good and to peace by their own lives, or by enslavement.
In the real world, however, “members of the majority religion”—Sunnis—are not being slaughtered, beheaded, and raped for refusing to renounce their faith; are not having their mosques bombed and burned; are not being jailed or killed for apostasy, blasphemy, or proselytization. Quite the contrary, “members of the majority religion” are responsible for committing dozens of atrocities against Christian minorities every single month all throughout the Islamic world.
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