gave a speech at the 2013 Values Voter Summit in Washington D.C. and spoke about what he called the “worldwide war on Christians by a fanatical element of Islam.”On Oct. 11, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)
In his speech, Paul highlighted that some rebels fighting in Syria have been targeting Christians, saying:
In Syria, there is an ancient Christian city called Maaloula, where they still speak Aramaic, the language that Jesus spoke. They have been Christian since the time of Christ. They are a small final outpost of Christians in the Middle East. In August, the town was over-run by the Islamic rebels.
As the Islamic Rebels swarmed into town they demanded everyone convert to Islam or die. Sarkis el Zakhm stood up and answered them, “I am a Christian and if you want to kill me because I am a Christian, do it.” Those were Sarkis last words. Sister Carmel of Damascus said of Sarkis: “His death is true martyrdom, a death in odium fidei (or, in hatred of faith).
Elsewhere in Syria, Islamic rebels have filmed beheadings of their captives and celebrated by eating the heart of an enemy soldier. Two Christian bishops have been kidnapped and one priest recently killed.
These rebels are allies of the Islamic Rebels President Obama is now arming.
American tax dollars should never be spent to prop up a war on Christianity. But that is what is happening right now. As Christians we should take a stand and fight against any of our tax dollars funding the persecution of Christians.
Paul then went on to highlight instances around the world where Christians have been targeted by Muslims.
To call, as Paul did, the incidents he mentions in Guinea, Egypt, Kenya, Indonesia, and Tanzania, a “war” is needlessly hyperbolic. In fact, last September The Times of India reported that Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has ordered members of the organization to resist killing Christians, Hindus, and Sikhs in Muslim lands. Of course, al-Zawahiri issuing these orders does not mean that Al Qaeda-linked groups in Syria or elsewhere will necessarily be compliant, but it is worth considering given Paul’s comments on radical Muslims waging a war against Christianity.
Paul cited the Boston Marathon bombing as a domestic example of the war on Christianity being waged by radical Islamists. But, as Dean Obeidallah of The Daily Beast has pointed out, if the Tsarnaev brothers were really motivated by a hatred of Christians it's not as if Massachusetts's capital is without churches to target.
What is perhaps most worrying about Paul’s comments is that they imply selective moral outrage. Does it really matter what religion the people being massacred in Syria practice? Isn't it just as awful that Muslims are killing other Muslims? I can't see how the arguments against intervention in Syria would be any stronger or weaker if the Christians Paul mentions were instead Buddhists, Sikhs, or Hindus.
I like much of what Paul has said about foreign policy. Paul is right that we should be cutting our foreign aid budget and he is right that our military is overly involved abroad. However, a non-interventionist foreign policy can be argued for and the dangers of radical Islam discussed without using the sort of dramatic language displayed at the 2013 Values Voter Summit.