In November, Secretary of State Antony Blinken removed Nigeria from the State Department’s list of countries hostile to religious freedom. The move flabbergasted religious freedom advocates, including members of the U.S. government’s own Commission on International Religious Freedom. That commission had urged Blinken in April to keep Nigeria on the list, pointing to “violence by militant Islamists and other non-state armed actors, as well as discrimination, arbitrary detentions, and capital blasphemy sentences by state authorities” in the country.
In 2020, the Trump administration designated Nigeria as a “Country of Particular Concern” (CPC) on religious freedom. In a letter, the Family Research Council and host of other organizations committed to religious freedom have asked Biden: “How can it be, less than a year after that significant designation, that Nigeria’s CPC designation has been dropped without a public explanation?”
The groups note in the letter that anti-Christian persecution in the country has grown even more intense since 2020: “The ongoing violence, killing, and displacement against Christians and others have only increased. In fact, during 2021, massacres happen almost nightly, while by day, young boys are killed in the fields. Pregnant women are brutally dismembered, their babies mutilated before their eyes. And now, an entire church congregation has been abducted and held captive.”
Armed Islamic terrorists and radicals “have become even more brazen, torching entire villages and farms, ambushing, and killing innocent people in gory, unspeakable ways,” they write. “Mass killings—the kind that used to be sporadic—are now a national emergency. Catholic News Agency reported in July, ‘an estimated 3,462 Christians have been killed in Nigeria in the first 200 days of 2021, according to a new study. This equates to 17 Christians being murdered every day in Africa’s most populous country.” (READ MORE: The Media Scoffs at the Massacre of Christians)
In Nigeria, one can get the death penalty for merely criticizing Islam. The Nigerian government is notorious for its indifference to Christian persecution. But this a subject that leaves Blinken cold. He signaled from the beginning of his tenure at the State Department that he was going to scotch his predecessor’s religious freedom policies. He called the Trump administration’s focus on religious freedom “unbalanced” and rejected a “hierarchy” of rights that emphasized religious freedom.
Biden is no more concerned about Christian persecution abroad than he is at home. His own administration is steadily advancing a secularist agenda at the expense of Christians. Blinken’s decision to remove Nigeria from the list of countries hostile to religious freedom, while placing Russia on it, is typical of the unserious, casually anti-Christian mindset within the Biden administration. Blinken says that Vladimir Putin is harassing the Jehovah’s Witnesses and “Muslim minority groups,” a claim that is hardly equivalent to the slaughter of Christians in Nigeria.
It is hard to take the Biden administration’s assessment of “human rights” violators seriously given that those “rights” now include abortion and transgenderism. A country can now end up on State Department blacklists not for killing unborn children and mutilating them but for refusing those practices.
That Biden can overlook this while prattling on about the supposed glories of transgenderism reveals much about this administration’s bankrupt agenda.
Biden has declared the promotion of transgenderism abroad a “priority” of American foreign policy. That apparently stands at the apex of his hierarchy of rights. “[The State] Department has committed to increasing U.S. engagement on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI+) human rights issues abroad,” says Blinken. “As we do so, we work with partners around the world who bring to bear expertise on their unique challenges and innovative solutions. We recognize that, through these partnerships, we will be able to build a safer, more inclusive global society for all LGBTQI+ persons.”
This is what preoccupied Blinken in the months preceding the collapse of Afghanistan. Then after it fell, he told Congress that he was “focused on” the plight of the “LGBTQI+ in Afghanistan” under the Taliban.
Talk about an “unbalanced” agenda. Blinken can strain at the gnat and swallow the camel. As he trivializes human rights abuses, monstrous ones are occurring in a country that he claims is no longer a foe of religious freedom. Never mind that an organization called Genocide Watch says “Nigeria has become a killing field of defenseless Christians.” The group says that “between 11,500 and 12,000 Christians have been massacred since June 2015 when the Buhari Government of Nigeria came to power. These statistics are based on careful records kept by church groups that include the names of victims and dates of their murders.”
That Biden can overlook this while prattling on about the supposed glories of transgenderism and chastising Russia for its insufficient enlightenment (Blinken said that Biden rebuked Putin at their summer meeting for not supporting the LGBTQ agenda) reveals much about this administration’s bankrupt agenda. Only a president that prizes religious freedom at home will care about its loss abroad.