Hate Trump Supporters? Then You Hate Some of ISIS’ Primary Victims

Iraqi Bishop Bashar Warda at the "Evangelizing in Muslim Countries" roundtable on April 18, 2015.

By Stephen Herreid Published on February 7, 2017

After a monsoon of a presidential election season, the nation remains flooded with debris. Most of the language still floating through the public square is garbage, and it’s time for serious Christians to begin cleaning up.

Since even Christian rhetoric has gone far astray, let’s return to the very first day of Sunday school. Let me reintroduce you to the “least of these” whom Christ warned us to treat as Himself. They are the ones who should have pride of place in our moral discussions about President Trump, not us — or even the president.

Don’t Get Mad, Get Glad

Let’s look at just two issues: The simple fact of Trump’s election as President, and his executive orders on immigration and refugees. We’ll examine them very simply by paraphrasing the old trash bag commercial: “Don’t get mad, get glad!” Who are the maddest and who are the gladdest about Trump’s election and his executive orders?

Glad

ISIS’s Primary Targets: The Most Vulnerable Refugees in the Middle East

“Iraqi Christians celebrated when Trump won,” Iraqi Archbishop Bashar Warda said in a recent interview with Crux, “because they hoped the American government would finally care about them after years of neglect by your government.”

Regarding Trump’s executive orders pausing U.S. refugee resettlements and prioritizing minority religious groups targeted by ISIS, Warda said that as long as it “is understood as something available to all the minority communities of Iraq, and not just to the Christians,” it could “make it easier for those from our community who wish to move to the West,” though the Archbishop hopes “most of our people will stay. …”

Warda’s view is not unique.

Father Daniël Maes, a Melkite priest who lives in Syria, is also glad of the Trump election. “I am happy with Trump,” Maes says. “He sees what every normal person understands: That the United States should stop undermining countries which possess natural resources.”

Stream contributor Jason Scott Jones reports similar sentiments among the refugees he recently visited in Iraq: “One person after another who belonged to a vulnerable minority in the region told me how thrilled he was at the election of Donald Trump.”

Middle Eastern Immigrants to the U.S.

A Syrian-American community of Christian immigrants in Allentown, PA — some of whom still have relatives in danger — told the Washington Post they were glad about Trump’s election.

Marlo Safi, a Syrian American student at the University of Pittsburgh (whom I’ve interviewed here at The Stream), tells me “the Syrian community was thrilled to see Trump become president, especially when the alternative was Hillary Clinton.”

Philos Project Associate Fellow Luma Simms, an Iraqi-born commentator with many Iraqi Christian friends and relatives both in the Middle East and in the U.S., reports that “Thank God for Trump,” and “God had mercy on us” were a “common refrain” among refugees and immigrants after the election.

The Iraqi Christian Relief Council, whose Assyrian president Juliana Taimoorazy was once a refugee herself, issued a statement in response to the president’s executive orders. “The Iraqi Christian Relief Council applauds the efforts of this administration to protect the region’s most vulnerable,” the statement said, though — like Archbishop Warda — they hope many of the persecuted will stay and rebuild rather than flee to the U.S.

Mad

Western Elites and Superpowers

Former President Barack Obama recently released a statement in support of protesters against Trump’s immigration and refugee orders. “American values are at stake,” the statement claimed. And Obama “fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith or religion.”

The president’s statement is a bald insult to the victims of ISIS, especially coming from someone who for eight years was the most powerful man in the world.

Part of the neglect Archbishop Warda referred to is the exclusion of Christians from Western refugee programs under Obama and other callous Western world leaders. This exclusion of minorities is so systematic that some have called it a de facto ban on non-Muslim immigrants — which is to say precisely the most vulnerable refugees.

As I wrote at CatholicVote last year,

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.

Western Christians Who Crave the Approval of the Powerful

Unbelievably, many American Christians not only agree with Obama, but treat those who assert the plight of the most persecuted as dissenters against Christian charity. They push the notion that to stand up for Yazidis and Christians is a form of bigotry against Muslims.

As Democrats for Life fellow Robert Christian told me publicly, “Hundreds of thousands of Muslims have been killed, you sectarian piece of trash.” Unfortunately, Robert Christian’s view is all too common among American Catholics — especially those in proximity to power and influence.

Reverend James Martin, “a celebrity priest who knocks around with Martin Scorsese and appears on MSM news shows,” would agree with Christian, as John Zmirak reports here at The Stream.

So would many officials of the United States Council of Catholic Bishops, which receives upwards of a hundred-million dollars in federal grants to help operate the very status-quo refugee systems that surviving Middle Eastern bishops decry.

Surely the USCCB’s vested interest is at least a factor in their moral denunciations of Trump’s actions. The ever-sensible Raymond Arroyo, host of EWTN’s The World Over, introduced their complaints appropriately: “With 91 million in annual federal grants on the line, US Bishops Respond to Trump Refugee Executive Orders.”

As Archbishop Warda said in his Crux interview, he simply can’t understand “why comfortable people in the West think those who are struggling to survive against genocide, and whose communities are at extreme risk of disappearing completely, should not get some special consideration.”

Forget Those Who Forget the Vulnerable

None of this is to say that either the persecuted minorities of the Middle East or their advocates are monolithic Trump supporters. I encourage readers to click through and read more of the comments I linked to, which include serious criticisms of the president.

What you will not find among their comments is what you find under the “Mad” category: hysterical, morally manipulative hatred that does not even factor in the pleas of the most vulnerable.

Now that we’ve separated trash from treasure, let’s agree to put our bags of “mad” where Vice President Pence once vowed to put the abortion industry: in “the ash heap of history, where it belongs.”

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  • Mo86

    “Unbelievably, many American Christians not only agree with Obama, but treat those who assert the plight of the most persecuted as dissenters against Christian charity. They push the notion that to stand up for Yazidis and Christians is a form of bigotry against Muslims.”

    Thank you! I have seen this attitude as well, and it completely baffles me!

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