From Christ’s birth to a cradle of death

December 20, 2015

“The world was but a cradle, when the infant child was born, nothing but a manger, in which to keep him warm….”  The opening lines of an obscure poem written years ago about the birth of Christ and the significance that event carries for Christians around the globe.

According to the Pew Research Center, their number is now over 2 billion, (roughly 30 percent of the world’s population) and though organized religion is in a historical slump here at home, the number of Americans identifying as Christian is still over 70 percent.

It is not happenstance that that number is so high.  From the pilgrims of Plymouth Rock to the millions that came through Ellis Island lifetimes later, Christianity has been at the core of the American experience.

Contrary to today, at the time of America’s founding Christianity was not something to be reviled and driven from the public square but was instead intricately woven into our social fabric.

Yet for all our history, for all that heritage, we approach Christmas 2015 with our very own federal government openly acting against it.

At this very moment there are literally hundreds of thousands of Christian families in the Middle East that face a homeless and fatherless Christmas.  Homeless because ISIS has made sure of it.  Fatherless because ISIS murdered them.  The women and children that did make it out tell horrific tales of beatings, rapes, and others being sold off as sex slaves.  And of all them the Assyrian Christians are bearing a disproportional brunt of that brutality.

When Christ was born in that “cradle of the world” they had already been calling it home for over 2000 years.  They are the last known people to still speak Aramaic, the language of Christ himself, and they are being left to the slaughter by a White House hiding behind bureaucratic process and political legalese.

By relying on United Nation’s referrals to fill its Syrian refugee list, the U.S. government is virtually guaranteeing that Christians will be left out.  With the Muslim populated U.N. camps as brutal as ISIS itself, Christians must avoid them and in turn relinquish any chance of being referred.

Adding insult to injury is the fact that the State Department doesn’t even deem them “true” refugees.  Writing in The Hill last January on why Syrian refugees being admitted to the United States did not include Christians, Abraham Miller noted “the Department of State is adhering with all the rigidity of a Soviet era bureaucracy to the rule that only people at risk from massacres launched by the regime qualify for refugee status.”

You read that correctly.  The wizards of smart at Foggy Bottom justify their inaction on atrocities bordering on genocide because it is ISIS, not the Syrian government, behind them.  And since they don’t deem ISIS a government and only a government can commit genocide, those forced from their homes because of ISIS can’t be refugees because refugees can only be cause by a government action.

(No word yet from State if the dead are actually still dead since technically they were murdered by ISIS and not a government.)

So the next time you hear some pompous politician smugly declaring “that’s not who we are”, remember the Assyrian Christians and ask yourself; with all our history, with all we’ve fought for, with all we stand for, if we won’t help them, then just who the hell are we anyway?

Just who are we; that in this, the 21st century we won’t lift even a finger to protect those that have been with us since the 1st?

I don’t know who’s America that is, but it certainly isn’t mine and I seriously doubt it’s yours.

PUBLISHER’s NOTE:  An edited version of this column first appeared in the December 20, 2015 print edition of the Joplin Globe.

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