Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus in a manger in Bethlehem. There are an estimated 35,000 to 38,000 Christians in that area which is actually now under Palestinian control. This is an example of the unintended consequences that can follow various changes in the way the West sees and treats the Middle East. Due to lack of passports, these people have nowhere to go even if they wanted to leave.
I feel quite certain this fact did not influence President Barack Obama’s actions in the UN recently, but it is a fact that we Christians need to be aware of when we discuss the Middle East. It is a complication of which we must be aware as we address our proper concerns over the United Nations and more particularly with our outgoing President Obama and the end run he brought to the UN. There is absolutely no excuse for that; it is a lasting indictment of the man and of many in his Administration that participated in this travesty.
This does not mitigate the actions recently taken by the United Nations nor does it excuse the end run by our outgoing President. It does help, however, to point to the complexities of this region of the world and to the question of just how the United Nations might provide a workable solution with the least damage to those being ‘helped’. There are non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as the Christian communities in certain sectors of the Middle East that need help to survive and prosper. It is critical that we not paint with such a broad brush as to bring further harm to those groups.
Palestinian Christians often are living hand-to-mouth with no alternatives. Indigenous Christians are often finding themselves in the path of ISIS. Middle Eastern Christianity has a face today that it may not have had for many of us prior to the eruption of ISIS.
While we properly, in my opinion, make the point of a disingenuous President Obama who ought to leave office in shame for his handling of the UN and this epic tragedy, we cannot afford to waste that heightened awareness on those who need our help. It is too easy to lose track of the need when we are only aware of the brightest shiny object in the area.
We want, obviously, to help Israel but we must not be blinded to the needs of Christians under Palestinian control. They need our help even as we lament the actions of our President and his minions who blindly followed his directives in the recent abdication of responsibility in the United Nations. It is right and proper that we are infuriated by those actions and that his position in history is treated appropriately as the result.
We recognize that getting the factions together may take a long time still, but that should not negate our ability to recognize where and how we can help those caught in the tug-of-war between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
We ought to be able to do that even as we damn the actions of our government.