It is interesting to see how the court evangelicals have responded to the United States withdrawal and recent Turkish invasion of the Kurdish region. Many of Trump’s evangelical supporters are horrified that the president has now abandoned the Christian minority in the Kurdish region.
Christianity Today is covering it this way:
One Syrian Christian leader issued a plea to President Trump.
“Please, seek God, ask God before you make your decision, so that Christianity is not eradicated from Syria, and from historical Mesopotamia,” Bassam Ishak, co-chair of the Syrian Democratic Council Representation in the USA, told CBN News, following Trump’s February threat to withdraw US forces. “We don’t want a country where citizenship and rights are based on ethnic identities or religious identity. We want all Syrians to be equal.”
Ishak and his colleagues across faiths have received the support of the Family Research Council in the US. Tony Perkins, though an evangelical advisor to the White House, tweeted his opposition to Trump’s decision, warning it would “endanger the prospects of true religious freedom in the Middle East.”
His colleague Travis Weber, vice president for policy and government affairs, told the Christian Post that the region can serve as a safe haven, preventing the flight of the persecuted to Europe and the United States.“Not only will our withdrawal destabilize the region,” he said, “but it … signals to the world that we don’t care about the religious freedom they have built.”
Other American evangelical critics include Mike Huckabee and Pat Robertson, who warned Trump risks losing “the mandate of heaven.” Senate Republicans Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham joined Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in condemning Trump’s move.
And the bipartisan US Commission for International Religious Freedom tweeted its “deep concern.” Trump responded to criticism by citing his “great and unmatched wisdom,” warning that if Turkey does anything off limits, he will once again destroy its economy.
US economic sanctions were part of his high-profile efforts to secure the release of pastor Andrew Brunson, held two years in Turkey on terrorism-related charges.
In Defense of Christians, a nonpartisan organization committed to the preservation and protection of Christians in the Middle East, expressed great concern about the future of Christians and Yazidis, but was encouraged by Trump’s threat.
Read the entire piece here.
Here is court evangelical Franklin Graham:
The Kurds are the ones who have been leading the fight against ISIS in Syria. Also pray for the Christians who the Kurds have been protecting. They could be annihilated. Would you pray w/me that Pres. @realDonaldTrump will reconsider? Thousands of lives hang in the balance. 2/2
— Franklin Graham (@Franklin_Graham) October 9, 2019
And then there is Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a Trump cabinet member who has invested a lot of his energies in the promotion of religious freedom. Pompeo is defending Trump’s decision to pull out of Syria. I wonder how Pompeo squares this with the following:
- His October 3, 2019 meeting with Pope Francis to discuss the protection of Christian communities in the Middle East.
- His October 2, 2019 participation in a Vatican symposium on religious freedom.
- His creation of the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom.
- His July 2019 speech on religious liberty to a meeting of the Christians United for Israel.
- And we could go on.