Flashback - 2006 College Essay - President Bush and Christianity in the Middle East
As a general rule, the Bush Administration has gone to great lengths to assuage the fears of Muslims worldwide, that his wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are not part of a religious crusade against Islam. On numerous occasions, he has made public declarations in favor of the peaceable nature of Islam. He has directed American aid to Muslim countries including Pakistan, Egypt, and Jordan, besides the trillions in reconstruction dollars spent in Iraq and Afghanistan. The President has even championed the cause of new Muslim countries in Palestine and Kosovo. It is thus a disgrace that a born-again Christian President does not use the power at his disposal to champion the cause of the millions of Christians living under siege throughout the world.
Don’t get me wrong. I sympathize with the Muslim masses. Trapped between Islamic theology and autocratic despotism, these liberty-starved people need and deserve help from the powerful United States of America, the land of the free, and the arsenal of democracy. But the Christians in the Muslim world have the added misfortune of being minorities. The President’s refusal to use his bully pulpit to speak against the vast persecution of Christians in Muslim lands is cowardly and betrays the hypocrisy at the heart of so many of the President’s foreign policy undertakings.
In his seminal essay, A Clash of Civilizations, Samuel Huntington wrote of the “bloody borders” of Islam. Yet what of the internal nature of Muslim societies? In every country where Islam is a national force, Christians (and other non-Muslims) suffer.
In Egypt, Coptic Christian plans to expand a Church are met by riotous, hatchet-wielding, house-burning Muslim mobs. In the Pakistani Punjab, Christians have been warned to immediately stop their prayers to the “supposed son of God”, even while they are in their own sanctuaries. In Gaza, a Hamas leader has decreed that the meager community of 2,500 Christians can only live safely if they obey the rigid strictures of Islamic Shariah law, which mandates an inferior status for all non-Muslims infidels. In Nigeria, the northern population of Muslims is battling the Southern, Christian half for control of the country. And while the ethnic cleansing of Christian (and Muslim) blacks in the south of Sudan began in the’80s, the jihadist slaughter has attained genocidal intensity under President Bush’s Administration.
Lastly, and most disgracefully, is the annihilation of ancient Mesopotamian Christianity currently under way in Iraq, under the nose of the allegedly crusading, imperial, Christian West. Iraqi Christians are being murdered, ransomed, robbed and tortured by Muslim clans. Hundreds of thousands have already fled for greener pastures in Jordan, Turkey, and Syria. Swarms of refugees in Jordan know that if they remain in their “liberated” homeland, their religious culture will be swamped by the tidal wave of Islam in Iraq.
If Islam is a religion of peace, then why has its resurgence in Iraq led to the devastation of Iraqi Christianity? Is it merely a coincidence? Facts are inconvenient things and they lead one to think otherwise. It can be argued that Islam is a militant and totalitarian religious belief system, recently rejuvenated by injections of massive oil wealth after centuries of stagnation. The idea of Islamic power having once been once reawakened, it has now begun to assert itself, and has shaken the very foundations of the international order. So long as the Koran is taught as the literal word of God to hundreds of millions of Muslim children throughout the world, Christians and Jews and Allawites and other minorities living under the sway of Islam will necessarily suffer. Such a devout follower of the teachings of Christ as President Bush, having attained the pinnacle of power, should use his bully pulpit to shine light on the gross injustices being committed against Christianity in the name of a supremacist religious belief system. His leadership can give hope to millions at a dark and precarious moment in the ancient history of Middle Eastern Christianity.