In Defense Of Christians Slams Weekly Standard Editor’s Anti-Christian ‘Bigotry’ Defending Ted Cruz

J. Arthur Bloom | Opinion Editor

The group that hosted one of the largest ecumenical Christian gatherings to address religious persecution in years last Wednesday night, which was crashed in dramatic fashion by junior Senator from Texas Ted Cruz, is calling for an apology from The Weekly Standard for remarks made by senior editor Lee Smith on Twitter regarding the incident. Smith accused the crowd of showing its “ISIS face” when some in the crowd which included many Arab Christians booed the Senator for goading them with successively more politically-charged lines about Israel.

“There were people in that very room whose loved ones were killed by ISIS terrorists. Smith’s hate and bigotry should not be tolerated by The Weekly Standard,” IDC Senior Advisor Joseph Cella said in a statement to The Daily Caller.

The same day, Smith ranted that American Christians could not possibly be sincere about their concern for their Middle Eastern brethren.

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“Smith breached the line of reasonable commentary from an editor or journalist of any publication,” says Cella. “His Tweets in question are venomous and abusive anti-Christian bigotry, not to mention dripping in rude condescension and elitist arrogance. We call on The Weekly Standard and Smith to apologize for this. Smith should be appropriately disciplined by The Weekly Standard, and he should delete these anti-Christian Tweets from his @LeeSmithTWS account.”

“IDC agrees with Smith’s previous writing on the importance of the preservation and protection of the ancient Jewish community in Alexandria, Egypt, and Eliahou Hanabi, the community’s last remaining synagogue. Christians in the Middle East are facing systematic persecution by ISIL terrorists, and rather than calling for their preservation and protection, Smith mocks Middle East Christians and Americans who are standing up for their protection,” Cella added.

Smith’s complaint that Americans see Middle Eastern Christianity as a “spent force” is also interesting, given that the diminution of Christian political power in the region is directly tied to American and American-backed upheavals in the region, including the second Iraq invasion and the Arab Spring. Or our involvement in sending weapons to the Syrian rebels since 2012 — the House approved the same action yesterday — many of which are likely in the hands of ISIS.

Most estimates hold that the number of Christians in Iraq has declined by around a million from 2003. How much more “spent” does Smith need them to be?

As Ross Douthat put it in the New York Times this weekend, “if 2,000 years of Christian history in the Middle East ends in blood and ash and exile, the American right no less than the left and center will deserve a share of responsibility for that fate.”

One might point to commentators like Smith, or certain conservative outlets that initially put the word Christian in scare quotes in their reporting on the incident.

Cella also set the record straight that Cruz’s office initially reached out to them:

“Cruz’s staff initiated contact with IDC’s Executive Director, Andrew Doran, earlier this year after he traveled to the Middle East and published several articles on the persecution of Christians there.  An invitation to speak was later extended to him by IDC, however, as was clearly evident from his remarks last Wednesday night, he purposefully veered from the topic he agreed to address, which was approved in Cruz’s own event request form.”

This form, which was shared with TheDC, states the topics pertaining to the group were, “Religious persecution of Christians, unity with the persecuted Church.”

“People were horrified at his remarks because they know how much is at stake. As reported by one writer in attendance, at least one audience member yelled ‘You’re going to get us all killed!’ Cruz proved he does not have the temperament to appreciate that this is a very complex and volatile region of the world.”

We’ve requested comment from Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol and will update this story if we hear from him.

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