Written by Warren Mass
During a news conference last week in which Press Secretary Josh Earnest announced the administration’s intentions to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees, he also noted that the United States has provided $4 billion in financial assistance to relief agencies and others helping those who are fleeing violence in Syria. While such aid may appear to be humanitarian on its surface, it is not provided for anywhere in the Constitution.
However, many private charitable organizations are attempting to help the displaced persons in Syria and elsewhere without resorting to the unconstitutional use of U.S. Treasury funds.
A large relief effort supported by media host Glenn Beck was noted in a report in the Christian Post Reporter for September 14. Beck has been raising money for displaced Christians in Iraq and Syria through his Nazarene Fund and hopes to raise $10 million before December in order to help resettle Christian families and provide humanitarian support.
Beck, described in the article as a born-again Mormon, spoke at The Crossing Church, a non-denominational megachurch in Tampa, Florida, recently and urged American Christians to do more to help Middle East Christians. He said:
Tell me about the tired, the poor, the huddled masses. Tell me about the tempest-tossed if it’s not those Christians now. And we’ve closed our doors. We will transplant entire Muslim Somali communities, and we’ll pick up the entire community and plant it in Minneapolis-St. Paul. But we will not take the Christians that are being beheaded, that are being slaughtered, that are being enslaved. We’re turning our back on those people.
The report quoted The Crossing Church’s pastor, Greg Dumas, who said that people need to understand “how dire things are in the Middle East and that we must stand for all those who evil is trying to kill and exterminate.”
A September 11 report in Masslive.com noted that the Knights of Columbus, an international Catholic fraternal benefits society, has distributed more than $4 million in humanitarian assistance to displaced Christians, and others persecuted because of their religious beliefs, in the Middle East.
In addition to this direct aid, the Knights have been running TV commercials to publicize the plight of Christians in Iraq. The commercial features the Reverend Douglas Bazi, a Chaldean Catholic priest who was kidnapped and tortured for nine days in 2006 until the church paid a ransom for his release. Bazi has given sanctuary to more than one hundred families at Mar Elia Catholic Church in Ankawa, a Christian suburb of Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan.
The area has become a safe haven to thousands of families from Mosul and Nineveh who fled invasions by Islamic State fighters last summer.
Another organization helping Christian refugees in the Middle East is Christian Aid Mission, a Charlottesville, Virginia-based non-denominational foreign mission board. The organization helped publicize the crisis with a message on its website on September 10, “World Wakes Up to Syrian Refugee Crisis.” Christian Aid supports persecuted Christians by:
- Assisting the families of martyred or imprisoned Christians, or those who lost homes and income.
- Providing food supplies and medical care.
- Providing materials to rebuild Christian churches, meeting centers and Christian homes destroyed by anti-Christian violence.
And yet another mission helping Christians in the Middle East is Christian Aid Ministries (CAM), an Amish-Mennonite organization that recently sent a team to the region. CAM is working with a number of churches and groups in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, and Gaza to bring food, mattresses, and other essentials to the refugees. It also helps these local groups distribute Bibles and Bible-story books to displaced persons in need of spiritual reading.
The unfortunate refugees fleeing from terrorism are paying the price for our interventionist foreign policy that destabilized their homelands. Their most promising source of assistance now lies not with more government involvement but with more private charitable involvement of the type recently offered by Beck’s Nazarene Fund, Christian Aid Mission, the Knights of Columbus, Christian Aid Ministries, and many others.
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