Russell Moore, one of the nation’s leading evangelical Christian voices, says America has a moral obligation to take in Syrian refugees fleeing the brutality of the terrorist army known as the Islamic State, or ISIS.
“We have a responsibility as a country to this region of the world,” Moore said in an interview with The Daily Signal. “We do have some culpability here.”
Moore, who heads the influential Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, said America’s actions in the Middle East helped contribute to the problems in Syria today:
Some people would say it’s because we invaded Iraq and destabilized the region. People who would disagree with that would say it’s because we left without leaving a remnant force behind, and without maintaining diplomatic ties behind as well.
Whatever the case, Moore said he believes now is a time for empathy.
“We need to have compassion upon people who are fleeing from this sort of tyranny, many of which are brothers and sisters in Christ,” he said.
The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission held an event Wednesday in Washington called “The Syrian Refugee Crisis: A Christian Response” as a way to encourage a thoughtful discussion.
Dozens of conservative leaders who make up the Conservative Action Project called Nov. 30 for tougher vetting of Syrian refugees.
Because the vetting process for refugees takes nearly two years, Moore told The Daily Signal before his organization’s event, he is comfortable that a good system is in place. Still, he acknowledges that America can’t be the only country doing the heavy lifting:
There’s a limit on what the United States is able to do in terms of actually resettling refugees. Saudi Arabia is doing virtually nothing for refugees[, and] we don’t want to emulate Saudi Arabia. We don’t want to emulate Middle Eastern countries that are turning their back on this humanitarian crisis.
Also, with Christians also being beheaded and tortured by ISIS, Moore said it’s time for the Obama administration to change its public position.
Americans “need to make sure we have a government that calls what’s going on in the Middle East what it is, which is genocide,” he said. “The Obama administration is very reluctant to do that.”
They’re willing to use the genocide label when it comes to Yazidis, and that is correct. But it is also genocide directed toward Christian communities. ISIS is making the religious distinctions. They’re the ones specifically targeting Christian communities for murder, rape, kidnapping, and systemic persecution.
Ken McIntyre contributed to this article.