Chairman’s Report December 12, 2014

Christmas Program for Christian Refugee Children Begins!

On December 6th the first Christmas dinner for one hundred Christian refugee children was held in Beirut, Lebanon. The next two dinners will be held in Lebanon in mid-month. The remaining nine planned banquets will be held in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. In all, 1,000 Christian children will receive a hot meal, hear the Christmas story and music, and be given a basket of food to take to their families.

Because of the costs in Lebanon to prepare a good basket of food, we increased the value of the basket from $25 to $40. This increased the cost of the program by $15,000 to $59,180 total for Lebanon.

Thousands of Christian refugee families applied for one of their children to attend.

Regrettably three out of four families who heard about our program and wanted to send at least one child, were not able to. This is only the second year for this program, and it is the first year we were able to make it available in Lebanon.

Sadly, there will be no lack of children to apply next year since Western governments, including the United States, continue to arm and fund Sunni rebel fighters who hate Christians and hate the secular government of Syria.

I will personally visit the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon to watch over the operation of a couple of the dinners at different churches. This will help me, as program director, to understand the process in Lebanon and how we can better help the children next year. Hopefully we can assist during the rest of the year as well.

Additional benefits for the children in Lebanon: The ministry we are working with to administer the program in Lebanon has on their own obtained vouchers for additional food supplies for the families of the children to use at local stores near where they live. This is one of the benefits of working with existing ministries who understand the culture and deal with the refugees on a daily basis.

I will fly directly from Beirut, Lebanon to Amman, Jordan to check on the progress of the program that nation. By the time I arrive in Jordan some of the planned meals will have been served, but I will be there for at least two others, to make sure the program is operated to our specifications. The food in Jordan costs less per child because our ministry partner there maintains a warehouse where food contributions are kept. This allowed us to keep the food cost to under $25.00 per child. Because we have experience from last year, this year the program should go more smoothly in Jordan. Please pray for the safety of the children at all times during the planned events both in Lebanon and Jordan!

 It is never too late to help with the program this year. Any funds received between now and the time the last dinner will be used to enhance the program. Even $5.00 can make a difference! 

[su_button url=””]A Christmas meal for a Christian refugee child – Make it happen[/su_button]

Have you heard from your Senators or congressman?

Did your Senators and congressman respond to you? – Have you received a letter from your congressman and Senators in response to the post cards you mailed demanding that a stop be put to your tax dollars being used to fund Islamic terrorists?

Congressmen and Senators are supposed to respond to their constituents. If you mailed in the post cards more than a month ago, you should have received a reply by now. I am very interested in those replies. If you received a letter from a congressman or Senator proclaiming that he supports funding to Islamist rebels, I want a copy of that letter! Please mail me a copy of the letter along with a copy of any response you may have made.

Also … if you received a letter that is very favorable and states that the congressman or Senator will vote against funding I want a copy of that letter as well, to determine if he is telling the truth.

On December 4th the House passed a new 1648 page $585 billion Defense Authorization Act that contained at least another $1 billion for “moderate” Islamist rebels in Syria to overthrow the secular government. The actual totals are impossible to ascertain the way the bill is written, because billions more are slated to “foreign cooperation” in fighting terror. I’m not sure at all who that money goes to.

The title of H.R. 3979 at one time referred to itself as an IRS reform bill but then the title was changed for the vote; its title became the “Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act of 2014.” After the actual bill was passed, another resolution was passed to change the name of the bill to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). GOT THAT??

The language of the NDAA authorizes some of the funds to go to fight the secular government of Syria, which means it will be used in an attempt to establish a pro-Saudi Arabia, Sunni government in Syria. Christians and other minorities will be run off or killed.

What I have done – As the bill now heads to the Senate for final passage, I have the cooperation of a Senator’s office to attempt to amend the bill to state that no funds can be allocated to Syrian rebels unless President Obama certifies to Congress that none of the arms delivered in the past 24 months have been transferred to Al- Nusra or any other Al-Qaeda associated group. In addition, the President must certify that rebels who have received the funds in the last 24 months have not targeted Christian churches or schools, and that they have not tortured, beheaded or otherwise executed prisoners they have taken.

Of course President Obama could not make such a certification to assure Congress, because “moderate rebels” have publicly stated on numerous occasions that they have transferred weapons and assisted al-Nusra and other terror groups, and have executed prisoners without trial. In fact, the Free Syrian Army has taken public credit for attacks on churches and Christian schools in Jaramana, which is a majority Christian city in Syria.

There is too much suffering for Christians in the Middle East as it is, and our government does not need to add to it! The Christians of Iraq, since the loss of Mosul, have given up and will not go back. This is a disaster for the church, and our government should just not be involved unless they are going to help Christians, not run them off.

“Damascus Massacre – Letter from the American Consul at Beirut, Syria” — That was the headline of a front page story in the New York Times on August 10, 1860. The story dealt with the massacre of Christians by Muslims, as reported by the Ambassador at the time. Sounds like a newspaper headline of today, doesn’t it?

Syrian Christians have told me face to face that the period of the Assad family’s political control of Syria was a “Golden Age” for them. Syrian Christian leaders visiting members of Congress just this year said Christians were treated more fairly under the Baath Party than they had been since 634 when Mohammed’s successors, the Rashidun Caliphs Abu Bakr and Umar ibn Khattab, invaded the Levant (what is today Syria, Lebanon and parts of Jordan and Israel.) .

Those Christians who survived the invasion and takeover in the 7th Century were placed under sharia law, with few legal protections and were subject to heavy discriminatory taxes, with the threat of sudden attack never far away. In 1860, when Syria was a part of the brutal Ottoman Empire, a local rebellion by some Christians started in a village near Damascus. The Muslims in the surrounding countryside began a mass slaughter of Christians, who soon tried to surrender but to no avail. The rioting and killing spread, as Ottoman troops offered no protection whatever.

The American Consul to Syria in August of 1860 reported to President James Buchanan that an estimated 11,000 Christians had already been killed, with many towns and villages having been destroyed. In Damascus itself, rampaging mobs killed thousands in the Christian quarter, afterward looting everything that could be carried away and then putting the entire quarter to the torch.

Samuel Clemens (author Mark Twain) affirmed this report when traveling in the Levant in 1861, a journey he recounted in his book, Innocents Abroad. In Damascus, he visited the mausoleum of the Christian victims of this massacre, where he was told there had been 5,000 people killed in the city. Mark Twain further wrote in his book:

“All the Christians who could get away fled from the city, and the Mohammedans would not defile their hands by burying the ‘infidel dogs.’ The thirst for blood extended to the high lands of Hermon and Anti-Lebanon, and in a short time twenty-five thousand more Christians were massacred and their possessions laid waste…”

[su_button url=””]A Christmas meal for a Christian refugee child – Make it happen[/su_button]

After the 400 year rule of the Ottomans ended with their defeat in World War I, the borders of modern Syria were drawn under the French mandate and life started to improve for religious minorities including the Christians. Syria, like other countries of the Middle East under the rule of the victorious European Allies, was no longer governed by Sharia law, and so there was equal protection for all. Secular rulers came to power under constitutions mandating that no members of a religious party, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, could hold political power. French and English were taught in the schools, and girls and women had the right to be educated.

This stabilized the Christian population which became prosperous, and Christians even held high offices in Iran, Iraq and Syria — that is, until the United States decided to overthrow the secular governments and establish “democracies” that allowed religious parties such as the Muslim Brotherhood to hold power. The sad result is evident today in enslaved, displaced and murdered Christians. Our tax dollars must not be used for this outrage.

Things to Consider  

As the year ends – Although the Christmas meal program for Christian refugee children was fully funded for 2014, the work of the Religious Freedom Coalition in the Middle East continues. We only scratched the surface in reaching out to Christian children in need. The ministry we work with in Lebanon had to turn away thousands of applicants for the Christmas meals. Had we had the funds, at least 5,000 more children could have received the gift of a Christmas program and Christmas meal.

As I have mentioned before, neither Iraq no Syria were third world nations before they became war torn. Both were oil rich nations in which Christians had religious freedom and were held in high esteem by the secular governments.

Today both nations are essentially in ruins, and the Christians who had lived mostly middle class lives, have been scattered. They now mostly live in urban refugee settings, being too fearful of attacks in the camps.

SyriaRefugeeAmmanThe photo at right is one room of a four room basement “apartment” in Amman that I have visited. An entire family of six live in this room. They share a common kitchen and one common bathroom with three other families. The combination kerosene heater and portable stove to the right was purchased and given to the family by our ministry.

You will note that there are no windows, but the kerosene is the only source of warmth they have. The day I was there the snow was deep and if you look closely you will see that shoes have been placed up against the heater to dry them out. This middle class Christian family owned a large home in Homs, Syria where the husband managed a business and the wife was a teacher.

One look at this can tell you why there is anger against President Barack Obama and his allies in the Senate such as John McCain, who are hell bent on destroying every secular government in the Middle East and replacing them with “democratic” Sunni Muslim Brotherhood governments such as the one that was imposed on the Egyptian people and that they overthrew in 2014.

The Religious Freedom Coalition will continue the work to save Christians in the Middle East by helping the refugees the best we can, while fighting in Congress to stop our tax dollars from going to Saudi Arabia supported “rebels,” such as is being done in Syria now. Our post card program demanding a stop to our tax dollars being used to support Islamic fighters has been temporarily stopped — until the new members of the House and Senate are seated in January. At that time we will continue, as funds become available. As the year closes, I urge you to please continue your financial support for our efforts. Please donate today.

William J. Murray, Chairman
Religious Freedom Coalition, 601 Pennsylvania Ave. NW #900, Washington, DC 20004 * (202) 742-8990

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