One would think American Catholics would be more concerned than anyone about the plight of coreligionists hunted by Islamists in the Middle East. Iraqi and Syrian bishops recently said the U.S. in particular has a “moral responsibility” to help the persecuted Church, calling attention to the many Christians who are unable to access refugee camps and other resources that are currently occupied or exhausted by Muslim migrants.
But since the rise of the Islamic State, secular elites have trumpeted a “refugee crisis” and called for Western countries to open their borders to a massive influx of (mostly Muslim) Middle Eastern People.
One advocate of this position is multibillionaire progressive atheist and Hillary Clinton donor George Soros. Recently leaked documents reveal that in addition to his support of the Democratic Party, Soros also put up money in an attempt to buy the backing of individual Catholic bishops on a number of issues, including immigration.
The Obama Administration is similarly solicitous of Catholic leaders’ support. As Lisa Bourne reports at LifeSiteNews:
The figures available on the USASpending.gov website show the USCCB garnering more than $91 million for refugee resettlement programs, more than $202 million going to Catholic Charities, which also serves refugees, and the Boston-based ICMC getting more than $17 million in government funds stipulated entirely for U.S. refugee resettlement.
And when it comes to the “refugee crisis” the American Church’s stance is more or less identical to that of the secular Left. Consider the following two public statements, made within four days of one another. The first is from Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, and the second is from Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, President of the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops:
- We are a big country and we should never forget that and we shouldn’t let anybody on the public stage say that we are mean spirited, that we are going to build walls, mentally and physically, or that we are going to shut doors. We are a country where people of all backgrounds, all nations of origin, all languages, all religions, all races, can make a home.
- We must resist the hatred and suspicion that leads to policies of discrimination. …We should employ immigration laws that are humane and keep us safe, but should never target specific classes of persons based on religion.
There can be no “neutral” position on an ongoing Genocide
Readers can draw their own conclusion as to why the bishops are aligned with the Obama Administration and George Soros’s various foundations. But let us consider one interpretation of the facts: That the bishops’ position is an effort to fulfill a Christian duty to be generous and merciful, and to rise above petty sectarian prejudices.
The problem with this reasoning should be obvious in light of the fact that Christians and Yezidis are currently the subjects of a “genocide” in Syria (I use the term strictly and deliberately, as officially announced by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry).
It should alarm our bishops to learn that the systems operating in the Middle East, Europe, and the U.S. do not prioritize the passage of Christians and Yazidis out of danger, even though as non-Muslim religious minorities they are the direct targets of what is now internationally recognized as a “genocide.”
Those who call for efforts to prioritize Christians are often accused of being sectarian, unmerciful, and cruel to the vulnerable. This is a profoundly wrong accusation. Indeed, some of those who call for more cautious and deliberate immigration policies are themselves vulnerable and in need of mercy.
As Inés San Martín reports at Crux, Jean-Clément Jeanbart, Greek Melkite Archbishop of Aleppo, “was close to tears at several moments” during a recent press conference. “As the system is set up, he said, all the aid goes to the refugee camps. Yet Christians see their lives at risk there….” “Our people are terrorized,” he said, “and we’re in a big danger of disappearing.”
A Syrian-American Christian told me in an interview that many of her family members are still living under the Islamist threat in Syria. “We certainly don’t want them going to the refugee camps in Europe due to the high risk of brutalization by [Muslim] fellow refugees that Christians must live amongst.”
“We need borders,” she said. “We need security and structure because Syrian Christians, for the most part, are able to provide the required documentation to come to the U.S., but because they’re such a small minority, are put at the back of the line because of the mass influx of Muslims.”
Refugees Welcome, Christians Need Not Apply
But as the Democratic Party platform flatly states, “We reject attempts to impose a religious test to bar immigrants or refugees from entering the United States. It is un-American and runs counter to the founding principles of this country.” The USCCB also officially insists on the status quo of resettling refugees in the U.S. “Regardless of their religious affiliation….”
Appallingly, this rhetoric serves as a cover for streamlining the immigration of Middle Eastern Muslims, while Christians—who are the objects of an internationally recognized genocide—are left to languish. For instance, of the 1,037 Syrian refugees the U.S. took in during May of this year, 1,035 were Muslims; two were Christians.
Nobody should dispute that many millions of Muslims are innocent of any wrongdoing, including Muslim migrants seeking a better life in Europe or the U.S. But there is nothing compassionate or generous about refusing to discriminate between targeted and non-targeted people during the course of a genocide.
In the words of Reverend Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who himself paid the ultimate price for opposing the genocide of European Jews at the hands of the Nazi Party, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”
It will be a great scandal if the leaders of the well-connected, comparatively wealthy Western Church do anything short of their very best for the much less privileged Christians of the Middle East in their hour of need. As Our Lord warns in His parable: “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.” (Matthew 25:45)