Striking While the Iran Is Hot?
President Obama may want to use force in Syria, but the kind of intervention Christians want is material -- not military. According to organizations on the ground of the war-torn country, the need for humanitarian help is great. Rosangela Jarjour, just one of many in the Fellowship of Middle East Evangelical Churches, pleaded with the West to help ease the nation's suffering -- not ratchet up the conflict.
"On behalf of Syrian Christians and other minority communities, we entreat Western governments to alleviate the suffering of our people by providing urgent humanitarian aid, as our communities are in dire need," Jarjour told CNSNews.com. Another religious aid group, this one based in the U.S., is witnessing the devastation first-hand. Patrick Sookhdeo, a director for Barnabas Fund, thinks the persecution of Christians in Syria has been grossly overlooked by leaders in America. "I pray they will heed the cries of these Christian leaders from the country as they consider what action to take." While the Islamic rebels take out their anger on the local faith-based population, Sookhdeo estimates that his Fund alone has offered aid to almost 140,000 Christians, most of whom are on the run -- or have been completely displaced in the conflict.
Also urging caution is the Catholic Church. Pope Francis weighed in this week, urging leaders at the G20 summit to "lay aside the futile pursuit of a military solution." Rather, he says, "let there be a renewed commitment to seek, with courage and determination, a peaceful solution through dialogue and negotiation of the parties, unanimously supported by the international community."
The Pope's appeal was backed up in the U.S. by the Conference of Catholic Bishops, who sent letters to every member of Congress insisting that an attack would be counterproductive. Hours earlier, Al-Qaeda-linked rebels had already seized a predominately Christian village -- a half-hour from Damascus -- in a dawn raid that started with a suicide attack. A local nun, who watched the rebels set up base in a local hotel, called for help. "It's a war," she said. Men and women ran for the convent, seeking refuge.
Meanwhile, President Obama, who lacks any shred of international credibility, is lobbying nations for a strike -- despite Iran's warnings of a possible retaliation. According to reports confirmed by the U.S. officials, Iran is already plotting revenge against Americans in the region. Like most of us, author and Joshua Fund founder Joel Rosenberg's heart is heavy with the uncertainty gripping the Middle East. He calls on the church to pray -- not just for Syria's government, but our own. "I am praying for the sovereign Lord to have mercy on us, our allies, and on the people of Syria, and the people of the epicenter," he wrote. My hope is not in the White House. My hope is in Christ." To hear my position on military intervention, click over to TonyPerkins.com tomorrow morning for Friday's radio show.
Military Besieged by Distractions
While our military waits for instructions on Syria, the President has the Pentagon fighting another war -- this one against the culture. Since his first moments as commander-in-chief, President Obama set to work dismantling the long-time traditions and foundations of our force, starting with his personal campaign against traditional sexuality.
Today, the military continues to be ground zero in the struggle between religious liberty, state's rights, and same-sex "marriage." As we mentioned earlier in the week, the biggest conflict seems to be the interpretation of the Supreme Court's decision over marriage and how it applies to the local National Guard programs. Right now, the ambiguity of the ruling -- and the Pentagon's radical application -- is putting governors at odds with the federal government. Although the justices did strike down a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), several states -- 37, in fact -- still have statutes defining marriage as the union of a man and woman that are protected by the remaining portion of DOMA.
And so far, some are not willing to capitulate to the Obama administration. National Guard leaders in Mississippi and Texas already announced that they won't process the benefits for same-sex "spouses" -- and yesterday, Louisiana followed suit. Lt. Col. Mike Kazmierzak says any interested service members can "seek guidance at a federal military installation." Until then, Louisiana intends to honor the will of voters -- and its state Constitution.
Unfortunately, this is just a taste of the havoc the President's policies have wrecked on our troops. And while the military is trying to sort out its identity crisis, the White House still wants to expand its role overseas. A distracted military, torn between its role in securing America and securing this President's radical agenda, is already overextended. The White House needs to decide: does it want an army of political operatives or a force for securing America? Because the latest confusion proves that our military can't -- and shouldn't have to -- do both.
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Looking for a place to voice your concerns with people who will listen? Join us October 11-13 in Washington, D.C. for a national townhall on issues like health care, life, religious liberty, national security, marriage, and more with some of Capitol Hill's leaders, including Republican Study Committee Chairman Steve Scalise (R-La.), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.), and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) at this year's Values Voter Summit. Friday afternoon will feature special presentations and Q&A on the most pressing topics on the Hill. Don't miss the opportunity to join social conservatives from across the country at the Omni Shoreham Hotel. Speakers include Senators Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Governor Mike Huckabee, Senator Rick Santorum, Joel Rosenberg, the Duggars, and more. Time is running out, so make your reservations today at www.ValuesVoterSummit.org!
** A Christian airman who spoke in favor of natural marriage is now facing court martial. Read more about this outrageous case in Ken Klukowski's new Breitbart column and then click over to FRC to sign our petition to acting Air Force Secretary Eric Fanning to intercede.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.