In addition to promoting the Christian right's not so sacramental whine about America's Christians who are constantly besieged by the secular, atheist, and gay "agendas," Fox News has taken its patented "war on Christians" international. Last week they did three, count em, pieces about how Middle Eastern Christians are suffering at the hands of Muslims. But the Fox coverage of the Fox "war on Christians" is, like the battle of good vs. evil, still in full throttle as, on Monday, Bill Hemmer discussed it on America's Newsroom, an afternoon "new" show which he hosts. And who better to assist Bill, in promoting the new meme, than former UN Ambassador, John Bolton, who was totally on board with a war in which the US overthrew an Iraqi dictator who protected Christians.
Hemmer opened with commentary about persecution of Christians in Iran and other places "in the Muslim world." His question of whether "it's time for the US to reconsider policy" in the Middle East provided the framing for the Fox message which was reinforced by the chyron "Christians Under Attack, New Calls for Changes in US Policy."
He tossed to Bolton who cited Islamic extremism and Sharia law in Egypt and Iran. Hemmer dramatically intoned about the "deadly attacks" in Egypt and asked Bolton "who in these countries has the backs of these people, these Christians?" Bolton explained that under the former dictator, Hosni Mubarek, the Christians fared well; but now the Islamic Brotherhood is terrorizing the Christians. Bolton asserted that the US needs to "make it clear that protection of religious freedom is an important human right."
So who is making "new calls for changes in US policy?" We never found out. And what, specifically are the changes? We don't know. But what we do know is that the Russians, who will be hosting the Winter Olympics, have laws which infringe on the civil rights of the LGBT population. So far, Fox News doesn't seem to be as concerned about that as they are about Christians in Muslim countries. Chinese Christians don't exactly have religious freedom; but Fox doesn't seem as concerned about them as they are about Christians in Muslim countries.
And what about the civil rights of Christians in Saudi Arabia - oh, right, they don't have any. Why doesn't Fox mention that? Oh right, one of the Saudi royals has a stake in News Corp. And if you're talking terror, abortion clinics in the US continue to experience vandalism; but Fox isn't concerned about that, either. And who has the backs of those American minorities whose voting rights are being eroded by voter suppression?
Middle Eastern politics are very complex. (So far, nobody on the aforementioned Fox segments has mentioned that the Assad gov't is allied with the Christians.) We have already paid dearly, in blood and treasure, for meddling in the Middle East. Does Roger Ailes want more of that or is he just using this as another meme with which to bash the President? What really is the point of all this or is there a point?
Correction: As pointed out by reader Joseph West, the Alawites are an Islamic sect of which the Assads are members. I mistakenly described the Syrian Christians as Alawites. Sorry for the mistake, Jane. As the saying goes, nobody's perfect, myself included.
Wish Priscilla would correct the piece. Fact-checking that gets the facts wrong is kinda embarrassing.
Priscilla, that might be because the Alawites are a branch of Shi’a Islam.
“Islamic sect, stemming from the Twelver Shi’is. The Alawism must not be confused with Alevism, another religion, which usually is classified as a Shi’i-originated branch of Islam, with some 21 million adherents, mainly in Turkey.”
“Alawism has 7 pillars to its teachings. Five of these are similar to those of other Muslims, (the creed, the prayers, alms, pilgrimage to Mecca and fasting during the month of Ramadan), but the Alawites consider these as symbols, and therefore they do not practice what other Muslims consider as duties. The other 2 pillars are jihad, holy struggle, and waliya (devotion to Ali, and struggle against his enemies).”
“Through their history, the Alawites have often been in conflict with the rulers as well as other Muslims, who often have claimed that they are not Muslims. The Alawites consider themselves to be moderate Shi’i Muslims.”
(All quoted material from http://looklex.com/e.o/alawism.htm )
Furthermore, the Syrian Constitution mandates that the President be a Muslim and the Assad family are prominent members of the Alawite community in Syria. Neither Bashar nor his father Hafez made any changes to that requirement.
Guess the operative word that will assure it stays that way? But you can bet your ass that it would have came up, had we ended up taking military action over the chemical weapons…
But bottom line, Alawites are not Christian, they’re Muslim.
And btw, Bolton knows perfectly well that the Egyptian Christians were also persecuted under Mubarak.