Obama says he prays for persecuted Christians

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2015/12/23/obama-says-he-prays-for-persecuted-christians/

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama marked the approach of the Christmas holiday by citing religious persecution, particularly against Christians in war-torn Middle Eastern countries.

“At this time, those of us fortunate enough to live in countries that honor the birthright of all people to practice their faith freely give thanks for that blessing,” Obama said in a statement released Wednesday by the White House. “Michelle and I are also ever-mindful that many of our fellow Christians do not enjoy that right, and hold especially close to our hearts and minds those who have been driven from their ancient homelands by unspeakable violence and persecution.”

Obama, who is vacationing in Hawaii, said he prays “for God’s protection” for those and other persecuted religious groups.

“In some areas of the Middle East where church bells have rung for centuries on Christmas Day, this year they will be silent; this silence bears tragic witness to the brutal atrocities committed against these communities by ISIL,” the president said, using an acronym for Islamic State, a terrorist organization that has seized territory in Syria and Iraq.

Earlier this month, the White House celebrated religious diversity by convening a day-long conference that honored interfaith work and dialogue.

But the president hasn’t been as successful as he had led voters to believe he would be in 2008, campaigning on his theme of hope. On Tuesday, The Washington Post published a lengthy profile of Obama discussing his Christian faith and how he had failed to unify the country he promised to bring together in that first presidential campaign.

“For Obama, faith is a means to move from that dire reality — the world as it is — to the promise of the world as it ought to be,” reporter Greg Jaffe wrote. “This idea of faith as an ennobling struggle runs through virtually all of his most ambitious speeches.”

Contact Kara Bettis at [email protected] or on Twitter @karabettis.