A grave humanitarian crisis is sweeping Iraq. The President has announced humanitarian aid and air strikes against ISIS. He needs to do more.
After all, political neutrality is in our DNA. Once he encountered Jesus, our founder and inspiration, Chuck Colson, gladly worked with people of good will from both sides of the aisle. Chuck knew that when it comes to pivotal moral and social issues such as prison reform or religious freedom, there are no red hearts or blue hearts. There are only human hearts, and our common humanity goes far deeper than any political pin on our lapels.
That’s why, without a hint of partisanship, I urgently join our voice as a ministry with that of Representative Frank Wolf of Virginia. Wolf, who happens to be a Republican, has been a stalwart and sometimes lonely voice speaking out for religious freedom for many decades. Now he’s calling our president to speak up for the rights and safety of religious minorities in Iraq, including Christians.
As you probably know, an Islamist terror group that goes by the acronym ISIS has been gobbling up huge swathes of territory, executing Christians and other religious minorities, and even destroying priceless artifacts. Tens of thousands have been forced to flee with little more than the shirts on their backs. My friend, Canon Andrew White, vicar of the only Anglican church in Iraq, says, “The Islamic State simply said [‘]we can do anything now that the world is just looking at Gaza[‘] . . . in reality that is true. Iraq seems like old news, yet things just get worse and worse here.”
Tragically, until last Thursday’s announcement of humanitarian aid, the President’s silence on this issue has been deafening, too.
In a recent letter to President Obama, Rep. Wolf wrote, “Mr. President . . . You, Secretary of State Kerry and Ambassador Power all need to speak out.”
“Time is running out,” Wolf continues. “How many more people must be killed for you to acknowledge this situation?”
President Obama has said there’s no military solution to this crisis. But there are other measures to take, and Wolf is calling for the president to take a number of them immediately, including:
- Sign the bipartisan legislation approved by the House and Senate to create a special envoy to promote religious freedom in the Middle East, legislation that has been sitting on Mr. Obama’s desk. The envoy would work with the Kurdish and Iraqi governments to address this humanitarian crisis;
- Appoint a senior official to coordinate all U.S. government resources necessary to stop the genocide;
- Publicly thank the Kurdish authorities for protecting the Christians and other religious minorities who have fled ISIS; and finally
- Work with trusted NGOs—such as Catholic Relief Services and UNICEF—who are already on the ground.
Friends, this is not a partisan issue; it’s a biblical issue…to rescue the perishing. Let’s stand with Frank Wolf and with others of good will, of all parties, to respond to this disaster. As Wolf said in closing his letter to the President, “You and your administration must take action now, before the damage is irreversible. Please speak out for the voiceless.”
Folks, I’m asking you to call or write the White House. Applaud the President’s use of air drops and air strikes, but urge him please to take the steps recommended by Rep. Wolf.
— by Eric Metaxas
Metaxas is currently the voice of Breakpoint, a radio commentary (www.breakpoint.org) that is broadcast on 400 stations with an audience of eight million.
Copyright© 2014 Prison Fellowship Ministries. Reprinted with permission. BreakPoint is a ministry of Prison Fellowship Ministries