To Whom It May Ignore: U.S. Abandons Terror-filled Nigeria

To Whom It May Ignore: U.S. Abandons Terror-filled Nigeria

November 19, 2021

When Pastor Silas Yakubu Ali didn't show up to preach on Sunday morning, there was one overriding feeling: dread. It wasn't like the 55-year-old leader of the Evangelical Church Winning All to be late. As the hour grew later, people in the congregation left to search -- each one praying that his disappearance wasn't what they all feared. In Nigeria, they knew, being a Christian or going to church could be a death sentence -- one that had been carried out thousands of times this year already.

A third of a mile from his house, Pastor Silas was found -- his lifeless body next to the motorcycle that had run out of gas minutes from possible safety. To the church members' horror, he had been macheted to death. Like most pastors, Silas understood the threat of openly worshipping Jesus -- and accepted it anyway, determined to preach the word of God in a country that's become a killing field of Christians. "When we go to sleep at night," another Nigerian pastor told Open Doors, "we are never sure whether we will make it alive to the next day."

In 2021, the massacres happen almost nightly. A handful of years ago, the attackers only preyed on certain regions. Now, international groups warn, the violence is spreading -- and fast. The day after Pastor Silas's murder, gunmen went after his congregation -- slaughtering young boys in the fields and 11 more. One pregnant woman was "hacked to death," the baby cut out of her womb and laid on her then-empty stomach -- one of countless grisly scenes.

These last several months, the gangs of Fulani, Boko Haram, and other armed militants have become even more brazen, torching entire villages and farms, ambushing, and killing innocent people in gory, unspeakable ways. Some locals, like Steven Kefas, waits by the phone, hoping it doesn't ring. Many nights, he's disappointed, as Kaduna leaders call -- under attack and desperate for help. After a couple of hours, he reaches out to assess the damage. By then, they're counting the bodies. Mostly women and children, he is told one late September night, "slaughtered like rams to be used for a barbecue."

The numbers, deep into 2021, are almost unfathomable -- the worst, many believe, it's ever been. Mass killings, the kind that used to be sporadic, are a national emergency now. One report estimated that as many as 8,000 Christians had been murdered in cold blood -- just between January and September. And yet, the Nigerian government does almost nothing -- and the Biden administration has decided to do even less.

That fact was driven home in a jarring fashion this week, when, in a move that rocked the international community, the president's State Department decided to drop Nigeria as a "country of particular concern." Nigeria, where more Christians are killed than anywhere else on the face of the planet, American leaders have suddenly decided to turn their backs and walk away. Most human rights groups, religious and non-religious, were aghast. The situation is the worst it's ever been, and it's deteriorating by the day. If America ignores what's happening there, it will only excuse Nigerian leaders who do the same. International pressure is one of the only weapons the world has to stop this slow-motion war.

From the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), where I serve, and Open Doors USA to former ambassador-at-large for Religious Freedom Sam Brownback, the reaction to Biden's about-face has been swift and fierce. "Just when we should be doing everything possible to stop the relentless violence that's targeting Christians and others, we do the opposite," Brownback shook his head. "This rewards the Nigerian government for tolerating severe religious freedom violations and sends a message to extremists that their actions will continue to go unpunished. People of faith in Nigeria will bear the fallout of this decision, and that's unacceptable."

Across the ocean in England, long-time human rights activists are firing off statements pleading with the world to reengage. Baroness Cox, a member of the House of Lords, sent out an urgent statement from her NGO demanding that the U.S. State Department reconsider. Cox has invested a lifetime into Nigeria, spending 20 years on the ground with her charity -- and as an eye-witness to this nightmare, she is appalled that the United States would abandon the Christians who desperately need them. "We are deeply disturbed by the State Department's decision to reverse this designation. Their decision gives a green light to terrorist groups to continue their killings, abductions, and land-grabs."

At least back in 2020, her colleague Hassan John said, the Trump administration's designation had "sent a message that the world was watching. But now, the message seems to be that the U.S. is no longer interested in hundreds of deaths, that the killings are not of any concern to the USA..."

To the Nigerians, America's withdrawal is reason for overwhelming despair -- a betrayal of the values the free world should stand for. "Our people are living in fear and anxiety," Bishop Olinya warns. "They no longer go to their farms, because these armed herdsmen have occupied [those] locations..." There, he says, they "rape and kill our women and men who go to the farm for one reason or another." If they do survive the persecution, they may starve to death.

It is a modern Rwanda, Darfur, a South Sudan. They need our help -- and more importantly, our prayers. Join FRC in lifting up the Christians of Nigeria. May God bring an end to the killing and a renewed passion for intervention in America. For more on the plight of our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world, listen to these real-life stories -- including Nigerian Joy Bishara's -- from the Pray Vote Stand Summit.

Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

House Democrats Ram Through $1.8 Trillion Mistake

November 19, 2021

If Democrats are good at anything, it's sticking taxpayers with the bill for their reckless spending. The routine is getting all too familiar: they lie about the contents to get their bill passed, greet popular outrage with contempt, lose the next election spectacularly, but sit back gratified -- knowing what they've done to transform America will never be undone. ObamaCare, anyone? Ten years later, House Democrats have passed another bill that dwarfs ObamaCare in both page count and price tag -- and the Senate might be dangerously on the verge of passing it.

The Democrats' Build Government Bigger spending package narrowly passed the House Friday morning 220-213, with only one Democrat joining all the Republicans in opposing it. From there it heads to the Senate, where Democrats plan to use the reconciliation process to pass the bill with only 51 votes -- if they can find them.

The colossal spending package would body-slam an American economy still struggling to its feet from the pandemic. "Two million more workers will exit the workforce because of the spending in here," warned Congressman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) on "Washington Watch." Spend more money, reduce production -- it's a prime recipe for inflation, even if it doesn't directly raise energy costs.

The bill is a radical wish list, from climate change spending to expanding Obamacare, from amnesty for illegal immigrants to increased business taxes. The largest ticket item is a government takeover of child care that drives up the cost and bans "faith-based child care facilities from participating," Brady explained. "It is a direct challenge on religious freedom." Then there are estimates that the true cost of the bill, ignoring accounting tricks, will be closer to $5 trillion over 10 years -- on top of the trillions Democrats have already committed us to this year.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) originally scheduled the vote for Thursday night to satisfy a handful of Democrats who insisted on waiting for the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to score the bill (not that they ultimately cared what it said). Despite including major tax hikes in the bill, the CBO estimated the bill would add a whopping $367 billion to the deficit -- a far cry from Joe Biden's "zero dollar" whopper in September. Of course, the White House thought it could make up the difference by sending IRS hounds after $400 billion in unpaid taxes -- but the CBO estimated they could collect only $207 billion, leaving a $160 billion-dollar gap. "Did anyone really think it would pay for itself?" asked Brady.

Nobody believed that, not even the White House, who repeatedly claimed the bill would cost nothing. To get ahead of what they assumed would be a bad score from the CBO, they started discrediting the estimate beforehand, claiming that the "CBO does not have experience" to figure out their math. It was a clever strategy -- but a dishonest one. As NRO's Jim Geraghty pointed out:

"For much of the fall, Joe Biden, members of his administration, and congressional Democrats lied to you. They lied to you because they think you're stupid. They lied to you because they think you can't do math and you don't understand taxes, government spending, or debt. They lied to you because they believe that you don't want to think too hard about all of those numbers, that you just want to get more free stuff from the government, and that you'll believe somebody else will pay for it."

The latest polling, though, shows that the American people aren't stupid. (It also shows that moderate Democrats like Joe Manchin, W.Va., aren't either." In the latest Politico numbers, a solid majority of Americans -- 52 percent -- oppose Biden's spending-palooza. In West Virginia, home of the senator who can single-handedly stop it, that number is even higher: 61 percent. "Nearly a third of voters said that 'inflation and cost of living' was the most important issue, while 96 percent of voters said they had personally seen price increases across all four districts."

And yet, Democrats stubbornly charged forward anyway. Although, thanks to Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), it took a lot longer than he thought. Thanks to his marathon protest, which lasted a record 8 hours and 42 minutes, Americans got a good lesson in how Democrats have stripped away most rights of the minority party and are railroading this country with their unpopular goodie bag of radicalism. Most Americans, 59 percent, believe "people like me" will pay for the Democrats' spending spree -- not the wealthiest, as Biden promised (the bill actually includes a tax-cut for blue-state elites). But Democrats will face a reckoning for their reckless spending in the midterms regardless.

Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

Thanksgiving Tyranny: Mandate Women into War?

November 19, 2021

As we prepare to gather around the Thanksgiving table with family and friends, many of us remember the old adage advising us not to talk about religion or politics. This year though, many families are likely to be discussing both for a myriad of reasons. One such topic of discussion is an issue that hits close to home. Namely, should our daughters be mandated to register for the draft and thus subject to being mandated into war?

The answer is no, they should not. This is an unnecessary, dangerous, and agenda-driven mandate on women that was added into the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in committee. The Senate began consideration of the NDAA this week, and likely won't finish until they return after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Thursday, Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kans.) rightly stated on "Washington Watch," "I'm all in favor of women volunteering to serve in the military, and there's just so many women that are doing an incredible job, but frankly, I don't want my daughter drafted or my future granddaughters drafted, either." This is exactly what will happen if this provision is not stopped. If we were to employ the draft under this policy, women would be mandated into combat. No "modernization" of the Selective Service into more than a mechanism to rapidly expand our armed forces or replace combat troops, no need for roles that are designated "non-combat," and no congressional vote to employ the draft is going to change this fact or prevent women from being mandated into combat via the draft.

Removing the gendered language from the Selective Service to "expand registration to all Americans" is not about removing sex discrimination and securing equality for women. Women are free to volunteer to serve in our armed forces, including in combat roles. Women have as much opportunity as men to serve their country with honor and distinction. They are a great asset to our military. However, mandating that women register for the draft is not a "glass ceiling" that needs to be broken. As Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) noted in an op-ed:

"[U]sing women as a chess piece in a political "equality" argument is not only misguided but is insulting to our female population. Since the draft was last used in the 1970s, women have expanded their reach by impacting our nation in multiple ways, including as doctors, lawyers, engineers, and, yes, as valuable members of our military. In fact, females comprise 17 percent of our current fighting force -- voluntarily -- and will continue to serve admirably. [...] Women are valuable, precious, appreciated, and -- most importantly -- already equal. Claiming the inclusion of women in the draft would prove "equality" is ridiculous."

Moreover, requiring women to register for the draft has nothing to do with improving our military and national security. Numerically, it is unnecessary. If we needed to more than double our armed services to five million, that would only require an additional 1.4 percent of the male population to join either voluntarily or via conscription. Physically, it is dangerous for women to be randomly conscripted into combat roles and would weaken our military. As noted by the Center for Military Readiness, the Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force (GCEITF) ran a study with male participants of average capabilities and female participants who were above-average graduates of infantry training. They found that:

  • "In tasks resembling requirements of infantry, armor, and artillery units, all-male teams outperformed co-ed units in 69 percent of ground combat tasks."
  • "Sex-related physical differences negatively affected co-ed units' speed and effectiveness in simulated battle tasks, including marching under heavy loads, casualty evacuations, and marksmanship."
  • "[...]Musculoskeletal injury rates were roughly double for females [during the assessment]."
  • "During research at the Infantry Training Battalion (ITB), enlisted females were injured at more than six-times the rate of their male counterparts."

This begs the question, "What is the push to require women to register for the draft really about?" As FRC President Tony Perkins observed on "Washington Watch," "This is about blurring the lines of gender. This is about further deconstructing western civilization... It's a much bigger issue here than simply the draft and selective service." We have seen the onslaught of the agenda to remove the scientific, biological reality of sex in just about every corner of society only get worse in the past year. This agenda is detrimental to the rights, privacy, and safety of women and girls. It seeks to infiltrate any area it can, and our military is one of its next targets. This is literally a matter of life and death.

Fortunately, some lawmakers are standing up to oppose this mandate on women. Senators Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), and Mike Lee (R-Utah) all have amendments to strike this language, and at least one is expected to get a vote on the Senate floor after Thanksgiving. This amendment is supported by others, including Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), the ranking member of the subcommittee that funds the Selective Service System. She stated, "I have great admiration for the women who serve in our Armed Forces, and every opportunity to serve should be available to women. I do not, however, see any compelling reason to expand the Selective Service System."

Please take a moment now and let your senators know how important this issue is by telling them to support the amendment to strike this unnecessary, dangerous, and agenda-driven mandate on women!