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By history, tradition, and values, the United States is a Christian nation. Our founding documents, for example, are dated from the year of Christ’s birth, unlike Muslim countries, which start their calendars from the date of Muhammad’s flight to Medina, and unlike Israel, which dates its calendar from the date of creation. Why do Muslim lands and Israel use a different calendar? Easy. They’re not Christian countries.
The question of faith and immigration has jumped in the middle of the debate over admitting refugees to the United States. Candidates for president such as Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush have argued, correctly in my view, that refugee resettlement should make admitting Christians our top priority.
The sad reality is that Christians in war-torn Muslim countries have more to fear than anyone else. Upwards of 200,000 Christians have been killed by Muslims in recent years. Christian men have been murdered and their wives and daughters kidnapped, raped, and sold into sex slavery. Their sons have been crucified before their very eyes.
If there are any refugees a Christian nation like the United States should put at the head of the queue, it would be our fellow travelers in the Christian faith.
President Obama was scandalized earlier this week over suggestions that we should use a “religious test” in our immigration policy. But there is no ban in the Constitution on the use of a religious test for immigration, only for a position of trust in the federal government. We are free to use a religious test if we desire. Congress can establish any parameters it wishes in our immigration policy, and is perfectly free to use religious criteria if it wishes.
And, contrary to what Obama has stated, using a religious test in immigration is in fact a very American thing to do. We have given priority to Christian immigrants and refugees repeatedly in our history.
For example, under the 1990 law known as the Lautenberg Amendment, the federal government prioritized resettlement of Jews and Christians fleeing the Soviet Union and Southeast Asia. Obama himself extended this amendment just last year, to prioritize the resettlement of religious minorities fleeing Iran. Who would be the most endangered religious minority in Iran? Christians, of course.
In reality, Obama has been systematically discriminating against Christians from Syria. While they make up 10% of the population, and are at far greater risk than anyone, Christians represent less than three percent of all refugees admitted to the U.S. from Syria.
In fact, if giving priority to religious minorities is our stated goal, then Christians from all 57 Muslim countries should be given accelerated consideration.
Bizarrely, Obama’s own administration has stated that its own policy priority is to give preferential treatment to Christian refugees. Knox Thames, the Special Advisor for Religious Minorities in the State Department, recently declared “the State Department has prioritized the resettlement of Syrian Christian refugees and other religious minorities fleeing the…