If the Obergefell decision did not clearly signal the declining influence of Christianity in American society, Charles Krauthammer’s recent editorial entitled “Righteous Effort Rescues Christians in Middle East” does. In this poignant essay, Krauthammer demonstrates that our government has turned its back on its Christian antecedents. Krauthammer notes the work of Lord George Weidenfeld, a wealthy publisher in the United Kingdom. Weidenfeld created a Safe Havens Fund which helped finance a mission pursued by the Barnabus Fund to rescue 150 Christians in Syria from ISIS persecution and death. Weidenfeld has vowed to rescue 2000 Christians in lands threatened by ISIS in Iraq and Syria as a way to pay back those Christians who rescued him from the Nazi Holocaust. At the age of five, he was taken in by Plymouth Brethren and other Christians in England shortly before the advent of World War II. He has not forgotten their kindness, saying he has “a debt to repay.”
Weidenfeld’s endeavors are reminiscent of the famous Oskar Schindler who saved over 1200 Jews during World War II by employing them in his factories in Poland. He used connections that he had in the Nazi intelligence service and bribed Nazi SS officials to protect his Jewish workers from being executed in the Nazi “Final Solution.” Schindler has been heralded as a hero who stood up at a time when few would to protect the Jews. Steven Spielberg’s film has helped to immortalize him. Such recognition is well deserved. Schindler risked much and he should be credited for what he did. Until fairly recently, praise for him was universal.
It is what Krauthammer reveals about the response to Weidenfeld that evidences how much the world has changed. Weidenfeld has called upon the nations of the West to help him and the Barnabus Fund in this endeavor to help Christians in the Middle East. The United States has refused to help because Weidenfeld is focusing only on helping Christians. Can you imagine someone criticizing Schindler for not rescuing Gypsies? It is rather shocking. Weidenfeld’s own country, the UK, has refused to allow any of the refugees from being brought there. It is historically appropriate, if not ironic, that the 150 rescued Christians were flown to Poland to start a new life. Has the West learned so little from the twentieth century? Perhaps the better question is, has it forgotten so much?
For the second half of the twentieth century, the world lamented the rise of Nazism and recriminations flew at western nations who knew or should have known what was happening in Nazi controlled Europe. Now, those lessons of World War II seem a distant memory. Political Correctness is partially to blame. One could potentially write off America’s reluctance to get involved since other groups are not being targeted for help as well. But that is a thin veil. The reality is that this refusal is consistent with the current administration’s concerted effort to appease Islamic countries. President Obama’s lessening of America’s long standing support of Israel and his deal with Iran are only the latest in a series of such attempts. Worse, I believe it represents the continuing denigration of Christians and Christianity in this country.
Pictures of Islamic terrorists, faces covered with keffiyeh, holding a sword over the head of kneeling Christians, have shocked westerners in recent months. Yet somehow, the reality of those images does not merit response from President Obama’s administration. 95-year old Weidenfeld must wonder about the world in which he now lives. The glimmer of hope given to him by a group of Christians who believed it was right to help another human being regardless of his beliefs, must be growing dim in a world that refuses to help a group of people persecuted simply because of what they believe. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was right when she said that Christianity is now the most persecuted religion worldwide. I just did not expect to see so much evidence for that assertion in the West.