Living in America, it’s very easy to forget that just a plane ride away, people are persecuted on the basis of their religious beliefs. I say “persecuted” like that covers the atrocities that occur on a daily basis, but it really doesn’t; feminists, gay rights activists, and race hustlers all claim “persecution,” but if that’s the word we’re going to use to describe what happens to people like the Coptic Christians of Egypt, we may want to stop throwing it around when arguing about the wage gap.

Recently, the world sat dumbfounded as news surfaced that a group of Muslims threw a dozen Christians overboard a migrant ship traveling from Libya to Italy. Outrage bubbled as Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi insisted during a joint press conference with the President that “the problem [was] not a problem of (a) clash of religions,” and boiled over as Obama stood by and said nothing.

Would he have spoken up if the victims had been Muslim? Kirsten Powers thinks so. In an op-ed for USA Today, Powers lashed out at Obama, and pointed out that his silence about the mass murder at sea isn’t a one-off problem.

Western leaders — including Obama — will be remembered for their near silence as this human rights tragedy unfolded. The president’s mumblings about the atrocities visited upon Christians (usually extracted after public outcry over his silence) are few and far between. And it will be hard to forget his lecturing of Christians at the National Prayer Breakfast about the centuries-old Crusades while Middle Eastern Christians were at that moment being harassed, driven from their homes, tortured and murdered for their faith.

A week and a half after Obama’s National Prayer Breakfast speech, 21 Coptic Christians were beheaded for being “people of the cross.” Seven of the victims were former students of my friend and hero “Mama” Maggie Gobran, known as the “Mother Theresa of Cairo” for her work with the poorest of the poor. She told me these dear men grew up in rural Upper Egypt and had gone to Libya seeking work to support their families. They died with dignity as they called out to their God, while the cowardly murderers masked their faces.

Rather than hectoring Christians about their ancestors’ misdeeds, Obama should honor these men and the countless Middle Eastern Christians persecuted before them.

Negative reaction from the left came swiftly, and Twitter exploded with the kind of backlash we’ve come to expect when someone stands up and launches actual criticism at Obama’s disastrous policies. Powers appeared on The O’Reilly Factor and defended her positions—and the dignity of Christians being slaughtered overseas.


She’s right. Obama hasn’t acknowledged what’s happening in the Middle East, and his denial stretches far beyond the most recent human rights atrocities. This is the man who thinks he can strike a deal with Iran; who left Generals and troops alike wondering what the renewed American mission in the Middle East should look like; and who emphasizes time and again the values of “tolerance” as applied to a region bathed in blood.

The attempt to force Obama to appropriately recognize massacres like these may be an impossible task, but we still have a responsibility to shine a light every time he shames this country by refusing to speak up as the world tears itself apart.