Global War on Christians
by Glen Chancy
we approach the 2004 Presidential elections, many Christian conservatives
are lamenting various aspects of the current president’s policies.
The list of gripes is long and familiar to anyone active in conservative
politics: out of control spending, the PATRIOT Act, No Child Left
Behind, lax border security, and on it goes. In fact, a meeting
of die-hard Republicans, held behind closed doors, is likely to
devolve into a Bush-basing session the like of which Democrats could
only dream. Give that there are alternatives to voting for either
George Bush or John Kerry, one would expect that disgusted religious
conservatives would look elsewhere for a candidate to support. After
all, there is even an explicitly Christian
party for which to cast a ballot.
despite their manifest anger towards him, most Christian conservatives
will turn out in force to support President Bush on November 2nd.
They will do so for a mixture of reasons, but above all what keeps
so many Christian conservatives on the Republican reservation is
the ‘War on Terror.’ There is a belief, widespread among Christian
conservatives, that the ‘War on Terror’ is really a ‘Clash of Civilizations.’
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, although himself a conservative Jew, summed
up the views of many Christian conservatives quite succintly in
one of his articles posted on the Internet. He wrote, "It is
time that I said in print what I have long felt in my heart: I not
only support President Bush, I revere him. At a time when so many
other world leaders want to paint Sept. 11 as a terror attack, President
Bush saw it for what it was: a clash of civilizations, a war to
the death between two systems – one open, democratic and respectful
of human life, the other oppressive, tyrannical and deeply contemptible
of human life."
‘War on Terror’ then is not just about keeping the borders of the
United States secure. It is not simply about preventing future terrorist
attacks. Rather, the ‘War on Terror’ is the ultimate showdown of
Christianity (and Judaism) versus Islam. It is a fight to the finish,
and George W. Bush is our Richard the Lionhearted, leading the armies
of the Cross, allied with those of the Star of David, to glorious
this apocalyptic setting, the vast majority of Christian conservatives
are backing President George Bush because they sincerely believe
that, "Something must be done about the Muslim threat!"
To these religious conservatives, George Bush is willing to go on
the offensive and strike back in the name of God and country. They
fear that John Kerry will surrender
to the Muslims, and allow Western Civilization to be overrun a la
all of Bush’s flaws," Christian conservatives bellow, "At
least he’s willing to fight!"
is our glorious president leading the Christian World in a great
struggle against the Muslim hordes? If he were, then a reasonable
outcome of this ‘Clash’ would be that the position of Christian
(and Jewish) populations worldwide would be in the process of becoming
is, alas, absolutely not happening. In fact, the current policies
of the Bush administration are threatening to absolutely devastate
ancient and pious Christian communities whose blood will be on all
our heads. To deal with the subject honestly, it must be acknowledged
that it almost appears as if President George Walker Bush were waging
a global war against Christians.
are a tremendous number of facts that could be marshaled to support
such a counterintuitive statement, and at least some will be surveyed
in this article. However, the primary thrust of this article will
be to analyze the policies of the Bush Administration that have
placed us on the road to destroying one of the oldest Christian
communities in the entire world – the Assyrians of Iraq.
– Before the Liberation
understand the situation in Iraq today, in proper context, let’s
first review some basic facts about Iraq as it was under Saddam
Hussein was a bad Muslim, and everybody knew it. A secular dictator,
he ruthlessly suppressed radical religious sentiment, and tried
to build a modern state. Saddam was bitterly hated and reviled by
Muslim radicals as diverse as Osama Bin Laden and the Shi’ite Ayatollahs
of Iran. In a tape released by Osama
bin Laden in February 2003, Saddam Hussein is referred to as
an 'ignorant infidel.’ The Iranian clerics hated Saddam so much
that they repeatedly spurned peace initiatives to end the Iran-Iraq
War, in the hopes continued fighting could topple his government.
to replace it with a Shi’ite dominated state modeled after their
own. Eventually, they got smart enough to hire Ahmed Chalabi to
convince the U.S. to topple
Saddam for them.
had inherited the Ba’ath Party ideology of secular pan-Arab socialism,
and hewed to many of its tenets throughout his brutal rule. Iraqi
enjoyed more rights than women in the surrounding Arab countries.
Women could hold jobs and attend higher education, all with uncovered
faces. In fact, women comprised 20% of the professional workforce.
Saddam, alcohol merchants plied their wares freely in their shops.
The lack of enforcement of the Sharia made Iraq the party
spot of the region. David Younan Oro, a 70-year-old patriarch of
a Christian family in Ramadi, ran casinos and nightclubs during
the heyday of Saddam’s regime. He described
the glory days like this, "They drink like donkeys here. Business
was good. I had a lot of restaurants and shops." If you stayed out
of politics, life and business were good.
the primary tenets of Ba’athist ideology was a dedication to religious
tolerance. This is not surprising, since the intellectual father
of Ba’athism was Michel
Aflaq, himself an Orthodox Christian. In keeping with Ba’athist
ideology, Saddam did not interfere with the rights of the Assyrian
Christians in Iraq to practice their faith. Comprising somewhere
between one and two million Iraqis, the Aramaic-speaking Assyrians
are the original inhabitants of the modern-day state of Iraq.
Assyrians did suffer repression under Saddam Hussein, who suppressed
their ethnic and linguistic distinctiveness while trying to meld
the hodgepodge of peoples in Iraq into a unified state. At no time,
however, were the Assyrians ever denied the free practice of their
religion, nor did they fear for their lives simply because of their
measure of the relative religious freedom of the Assyrians under
Saddam was the exuberant and public celebration of Christmas. As
one writer described
it, "Christmas decorations, including nativity scenes, were
seen in shops, restaurants and hotels. And Saddam reportedly sometimes
attended services at Christian churches in Baghdad and even delivered
an annual Christmas address."
for the United States, Saddam seems to have pined for better relations.
He had been a de-facto ally of the U.S. during his war against Iran,
and appears to have wanted to recapture that status. According to
Report, compiled by the Iraq Survey Group (ISG), beginning already
in 1991, "very senior Iraqis close to the president made proposals
through intermediaries for dialogue with Washington," even offering
to be Washington's "best friend in the region bar none."
Saddam never did understand why he couldn’t just work a deal with
the U.S. In his beffuddlement, Saddam is not alone. Many other observers
of the region still can’t grasp why this secular dictator made it
to the top of the U.S. hitlist in a war supposedly directed at Muslim
– After the Liberation
say the least, since being liberated from Saddam, things have gone
badly for a great many Iraqis. However, the time has been especially
harsh for the Assyrian Christians. Large areas of Iraq are now under
the control of Muslim religious leaders whose militias have been
enforcing Muslim law. Based on locally issued fatwas, these
armed fanatics have killed Christians for engaging in prohibited
businesses such as selling alcohol or other formerly legal products.
Many Christian business men have seen their shops, restaurants,
and other business either forcibly closed or confiscated.
Younan Oro’s casino, the flagship of his family business, was taken
over by armed men who converted it to a Mosque. "We had a very good
situation until the fundamentalists began to appear and we were
affected," said Roger William, Oro’s son-in-law. "Because America
and Britain are Christian countries, they blame us for the war.
We are terrified. We really don't know what the future will hold."
Christian homes and private land are being appropriated. The Kurds,
America’s erstwhile allies, are among the worst offenders. Writing
about the situation in Dara, his home village, an Assyrian Christian
living in London reported that, "The Kurdish people are building
homes on our village’s land, without our permission. It is sad to
say, our own neighbors are stealing it from us."
have reported rapes, kidnappings, and assaults. The situation is
so bad, that Christian children have been gunned down in their own
homes. This little girl, Raphid was
down in her home along with her sister in July. She was only six
years old. Her sister, Raad, was only sixteen. They belonged to
a well-known Assyrian Christian family that had been threatened.
While the family was out, terrorists entered and shot the two children
at point blank range.
These two little
girls died simply because they were Christians in a country increasingly
slipping into Muslim rule.
of men have stopped
cars on the street and harangued women whose heads are uncovered,
accusing them of violating Islamic law. Even Christians have started
wearing headscarves out of fear, something that never happened under
Saddam Hussein’s regime.
Christians have retreated into the shadows, the compromise Transitional
Administrative Law in force in Iraq today has actually gone
far towards officially establishing Islamic rule in what was once
a secular country. Article 7 states, in part, that "Islam is the
official religion of the State and is to be considered a source
of legislation. No law that contradicts the universally agreed tenets
of Islam, the principles of democracy, or the rights cited in Chapter
Two of this Law may be enacted during the transitional period."
It further complicates the problem for Christians in Iraq that they
are under represented in the interim government when compared with
their percentage of the population. It is almost as if the U.S.
intentionally excluded them in the lead up to the ‘handover’ of
do the promised elections in January appear likely to improve the
situation. According to a recent poll released by the International
Republican Institute (an organization allied with the U.S. Republican
Party), the highest level of support
among Iraqis for any politician belongs to Abdul Aziz al-Hakim,
leader of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq. The
name of his organization probably speaks for itself.
is bitterly ironic that far from bringing Western secularism, the
U.S.-invasion has instead opened the door for an Islamic Republic.
Out of fear, an estimated 40,000 to 45,000 Assyrians have already
Iraq. Most have found shelter in Syria next door, a nation that
the U.S. may be targeting next
in its drive to spread ‘freedom’ in the Middle East. Had President
George W. Bush set out with the intentional goal of destroying
the Christian population in Iraq, it is hard to see how he could
have been more effective than he has been to date.
Fronts in the War
Bush has continued the NATO occupation of Kosovo. Since the end
of the war against Serbia, Kosovo has been the scene of anti-Christian
ethnic cleansing on a massive scale. More than 120 churches have
been destroyed, some dating to the 14th century. 240,000
Christian Serbs have fled the province. Periodic anti-Christian
pogroms such as the
one that erupted from March 17th – March 18th
kill dozens, wound hundreds, and cause more Serbian Christians to
flee for their lives. While the U.N. administers the province, NATO
troops, some 60,000, are the actual force on the ground. This means
that, ultimately, the Bush Administration bears the responsibility
for failing to protect the Christians in Kosovo from Muslim fanatics.
in the Balkans, the Bush Administration has continued the status
quo in Bosnia, which allows Muslim terrorists to use it as a safe-haven
for recruiting and training. According to European intelligence
Bosnia has become a "one-stop shop" for Islamic militants heading
from terrorist battlegrounds in Chechnya and Afghanistan to Iraq.
In addition, the U.S. under Bush has continued to try and dismember
the nation of Macedonia
by forcing it to make ever larger concessions to its Muslim Albanian
Bush Administration has made Turkish entry into the European Union
a number one priority on its international agenda. Despite Turkey’s
of mass murder and abuse of its Christian minorities, President
has been intervening personally to try and convince skeptical Europeans
that, "Including Turkey in the EU would prove that Europe is not
the exclusive club of a single religion, and it would expose the
'clash of civilizations' as a passing myth of history." President
Bush’s single-minded determination to see Turkey in the EU even
drove him to try and force a bad settlement
of the Cyprus queston on unwilling Greek Cypriots, who ultimately
even as his Christian supporters in the U.S. bemoan the increasing
Islamization of Europe, President Bush is doing everything he can
to make sure that 70 million more Turkish Muslims will have the
opportunity to settle there. While the possibility that this massive
migration could destroy the very heart of Christendom seems to be
lost on President Bush, certain European leaders have become quite
alarmed. Addressing the issue of Turkey joining the EU, former French
President Valery Giscard d'Estaing said,
"In my opinion, it would be the end of Europe."
d’Estaing and Jacques Chirac, current president of France and a
favorite target of American Christian conservatives, have positively
emerged as defenders of the faith as they fight against Turkish
accession to the EU. If only President Bush had as much dedication
to Europe’s Christian heritage as the heroic French.
Chechnya, a region much in the news since the Beslan massacres,
the U.S. has inserted
itself on the side of the Muslims opposed to Russian rule. Foremost
among the American agitators against Russia is The American
Committee for Peace in Chechnya, a front group of Bush-connected
neoconservatives such as Richard Perle, James Woolsey, Michael Ledeen
and Kenneth Adelman. The ACPC wants Putin to negotiate with the
Chechens rebels, and favors a NATO presence in Chechnya along the
lines of the NATO missions in Bosnia and Kosovo. President Putin
seems to be relatively uninterested in listening to their ideas.
If only the American president were half as wise.
President Bush and his coterie are doing globally, one thing is
abundantly clear. They are not fighting a global war on any kind
of Islam, radical or otherwise. On the other hand, they are making
tremendous progress towards crippling or completely destroying large
segments of the world’s Christian population. And in this slaughter,
the American people have become his accomplices.
all of the negative impacts of his foreign policy on Christians
globally, the Christian conservatives in America have been deafeningly
silent. Two reasons account for this. First is their overwhelming
pre-occupation with Israel. The State of Israel and its security
were mentioned by both presidential candidates in their debates.
The need to protect Israel is the subject of daily articles in conservative
publications, both online and dead tree. Pat Robertson even threatened
to form a third party, if the Republicans ever waiver in their full-throated
support of the State of Israel. Such concern for the plight of Christians
abroad is non-existent.
if the Assyrians and others renounced Christ and embraced the Talmud,
American Christians would care what happens to them?
second reason is the fear that criticizing Bush will hurt his chances
of re-election. For this reason, many Christians have kept their
silence, all the while knowing the truth of what is happening. This
is not a Christian attitude. Christ stood for the truth at all times,
not only when it was expedient. Standing silent in the face of suffering,
simply to prevent inconvenience to a favored politician, is not
following the way of Christ.
is time for Christian conservatives to end the silence. We must
speak out, and we must let the President, whether it be Bush or
Kerry, know that a continuation of these disastrous policies will
absolutely not be tolerated.
Chancy [send him mail]
is a graduate of the University of Florida with a degree in Political
Science, and a certificate in Eastern European Studies. A former
University lecturer in Poland, he currently holds an MBA in Finance
and works in Orlando, Florida as a business analyst for an international
© 2004 LewRockwell.com