President Obama, on those rare occasions when he defends his Libya policy at all, focuses on Col. Muammar Qaddafi's threats of "no mercy" to the rebels in his strife-torn North African satrapy. It's a "humanitarian" imperative. America, the president says, has a moral duty to intervene when millions are threatened with extermination.
In the Sudan, some 5 million Africans have died for decades at the hands of the Islamist government in Khartoum. So brutal has been the rule of Omar al-Bashir that when the majority of Christians and followers of traditional African religions in South Sudan recently had the chance to vote on separation, most regions registered near unanimous votes to break away.
Yet there have been no calls from the Obama administration, or previous administrations, for the United States to intervene militarily in the Sudan.
Which leads us to ask: Are Christians humans, too? How is it that when U.S. administrations have been willing to spend blood and treasure for endangered peoples in the post-Communist era, it has been the case that we will intervene when Muslims are threatened, not when it is Christians who are being slaughtered?
Take Iraq, for example. When Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction were not found, we were told that at least we had stopped his mass murder of Kurds and Shiites. Well, that should promise a better future for Iraqis.
Except that we now learn that two-thirds of Iraq's Assyrian Christians have been forced to flee the country of their birth since the United States took down Saddam.
Iraqi Christians have lived, often precariously, in the Fertile Crescent since biblical times. But only now is this ancient Christian community facing extinction. All the while, U.S. taxpayers shell out millions in foreign military assistance to a Baghdad government that cannot, or will not, protect its Christian minority.
In Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus assures us that the U.S. military presence is helping to establish a stable foundation for democracy. Only 500,000 Afghan children attended school under the Taliban, and none were girls. Since 2001, the general says, there are now 5 million Afghan children being educated.
We might feel a lot better about that fact if we could also be assured that they are not being taught in madrassa schools where they learn to murder their neighbors who are Christian.
Pakistan has recently seen its only Christian Cabinet member assassinated. He was the lone voice for the Christian minority in that country. Also assassinated there was a Muslim provincial governor who had taken a Christian woman under his protection. That late governor had called for a repeal of the country's blasphemy law, which makes it a hanging offense to say there is a Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Five hundred Pakistani lawyers and professors applauded the governor's assassination-by his own security guard. Yet, we are told that Pakistan is a democracy. Are we surprised that Pakistan has not been able to locate the hiding place of Osama bin Laden?
Lebanon was once a rare candidate for status as an Arab democracy. But decades of political violence have targeted such figures as President-elect Bashir Gemayel, a Maronite Christian, who was assassinated in 1982, and President Rene Moawad, also a Maronite, who was killed by a car bomb in 1989. More recently, the great hopes of a "Cedar Revolution" for democracy have faded as Lebanon has fallen under the rule of Hezbollah, the terrorist "Party of God" dominated by Iran.
Fearless Dr. Patrick Sookhdeo, a former Muslim, heads Barnabas Aid, a U.K.-based Christian advocacy group. Barnabas informs us that Coptic Christians are being murdered in Egypt. Sporadic attacks occurred under Hosni Mubarak, whom the United States financially supported for 30 years. Christian persecution of the Copts is intensifying in Egypt since Mubarak's ouster. There, some 6 to 9 million Christians of the country's 80 million people. In neighboring Ethiopia, a country with a Christian tradition going back to the Book of Acts, Barnabas reports some 100,000 Christians are fleeing new attacks by emboldened Islamists.
We Americans are moved by humanitarian concerns. Just look at the outpouring of prayers and financial aid to Haitians, the Japanese, Indonesians, and other victims of natural disasters. It should be noted that the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference-both groups whose members possess vast oil wealth-have done virtually nothing to help afflicted peoples.
The time is fast approaching for a searching reappraisal of a foreign policy that seems willing to rescue those being led to slaughter provided only that they are not Christians.