The legacy media have taken pains to describe President Joe Biden as a “devout Catholic.” Yet when it comes to Christians so devout that they risk death for their faith, the Biden administration has in too many cases done nothing, or adopted policies that have actively made their lives worse.
The actions, and inactions, of Biden’s administration in Nigeria, Afghanistan, Iran, Finland and the United States have harmed the world’s most ardent believers to further his policy objectives.
No nation has suffered the effects of Biden’s malign neglect more than Nigeria. In 2021, the African nation engaged in “systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom,” according to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) report, released on April 25.
Both government officials and gangs such as Boko Haram target Christians for persecution. The organization cited a handful of examples; for instance, “a mob in Kano State killed a reverend in retaliation for his alleged involvement in converting a local member of a Muslim family to Christianity,” it said. “At least 13 religious leaders were kidnapped for ransom over the course of the year, including eight priests, two pastors, and two imams.” Furthermore, “criminal and armed groups throughout the year accounted for … six attacks against churches in Kaduna State.”
Strangely, the Biden administration had designated Nigeria a “country of particular concern” (CPC) for religious freedom in 2020, then removed the nation in an apparent bid to curry favor with President Muhammadu Buhari. Biden also sent Secretary of State Antony Blinken on a visit to Nigeria — but shortly after his return, one website published an exposé that suggested “a Nigerian Department of State Services agent [was] allegedly complicit in torture and extrajudicial killings, including of children, in southeastern Nigeria.” AEI scholar Michael Rubin wrote on the issue: “Such videos and investigations belie the State Department’s talking point that violence against Christians is actually due to the climate-driven migration of ethnic Fulani and Muslim herdsmen into largely Christian-farmland.”
Human rights advocates found themselves flummoxed by the flip-flop. The USCIRF took the unusual step of releasing a public statement in November 2021 denouncing the administration’s intransigence: The Commission “finds it unexplainable that the U.S. Department of State did not redesignate Nigeria as a ‘Country of Particular Concern’ (CPC) and treated it as a country with no severe religious freedom violations.” The press release went on to describe USCIRF’s members as “appalled” and “especially displeased” with Biden’s inaction. Its report calls on the administration to redesignate Nigeria as a country that quashes religious liberty.
Since Biden withdrew U.S. troops from Afghanistan last August, the Taliban has reimposed a repressive form of Islamic Shari’a law on the nation — targeting non-compliant citizens for persecution. The international Christian ministry Open Doors USA, which publishes an annual list of the world’s most oppressive, anti-Christian regimes, said things have worsened so badly in Afghanistan since the U.S. pullout that it has eclipsed North Korea as the world’s worst place to be a Christian.
“Some women are already being kidnapped, taken from their houses, and forced into marriage,” said Open Doors USA. USCIRF agrees, saying in its annual report that “Christian converts, Baha’is, and Ahmadiyya Muslims practiced their faith in hiding due to fear of reprisal and threats from the Taliban. Years of progress toward more equitable access to education and representation of women and girls disappeared.”
Afghanistan has been trending more repressive for years, and the United States could not stay in Kabul forever. Yet Biden’s poorly executed withdrawal, which many commentators compared to the fall of Saigon or “worse,” left many of the most vulnerable elements of Afghani society at the tender mercies of the Taliban.
Iran’s Shi’ite theocracy has little tolerance for displays of Christian faith. As the USCIRF report notes, “Iran’s government also continued to arrest, charge, sentence, and jail scores of Christians on charges including ‘propaganda against the regime.’ Christian converts from Islam faced particular targeting for persecution.”
Despite this record, the Biden administration has signaled its interest in reviving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which would bring Iran a whirlwind of cash. How much? “In its latest regional economic outlook, the IMF noted that Iran’s usable reserves are $12.2 billion compared to reported reserves of $115.4 billion,” The Washington Institute for Near East Policy reported. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) called restarting the JCPOA “Biden’s $90 Billion Bailout to Tehran.” While the full amount may not be in readily available liquid assets, jump-starting the agreement would bring an infusion of cash into the world’s leading funder of terrorism — and one of the region’s worst persecutors of Christians.
Furthermore, thanks to Biden’s anti-exploration energy policies, the president has courted Tehran in hopes the mullahs will supply the nation’s fuel deficit. Like his closest historical antecedent, Jimmy Carter, Joe Biden seems determined to reward Iran’s worst behaviors.
While Finland hardly belongs in the same category as Iran or Afghanistan, anti-Christian persecution has broken out there with no comment from the Biden administration. The nation essentially put Finnish member of Parliament Päivi Räsänen and Lutheran Bishop Juhana Pohjola on trial for thoughtcrime. The government charged the two believers with “ethnic agitation” for “having published a pamphlet on marriage in 2004” and for hosting that pamphlet on a website, respectively, wrote Representative Chip Roy (R-TX) and Family Research Council President Tony Perkins at FoxNews.com. The pamphlet reiterated the immemorial Christian teaching that sexual activity outside marriage is sinful and that marriage is between a man and woman; for that, they faced two years in prison. While a Finnish court ruled in Räsänen and Pohjola’s favor in March 2022, saying “it is not for the district court to interpret biblical concepts,” the Biden administration did nothing to come to the pair’s aid or defense.
The United States
While Biden has often neglected Christians abroad, he has added to their woes at home. The Biden administration announced in April that it plans to rescind a Trump-era Health and Human Services (HHS) regulation respecting the conscience rights of those who hold to traditional values. The rule, which a court has enjoined since its introduction, “allowed doctors, nurses, medical students, pharmacists and other health workers to refuse to provide abortions, contraception, gender affirming care, HIV and STD services, vasectomies or any procedure to which they object,” reported Politico. If upheld in court, the resultant coercion would force Christians to perform actions that their faith teaches is sinful or leave their profession altogether. Similar situations have already occurred in Sweden and Canada.
Through his actions toward the persecuted church abroad, and increasingly beleaguered Christians at home, Biden’s policies seem anything but devout.
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.