July 8, 2024

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Pompeo: Biden Admin Sees Religion As An ‘Unfortunate Feature Of A Backward Society Trapped In The Past’

Nigerian Christians are being slaughtered, yet the Nigerian government and the Biden Administration continue to put their collective heads in the sand about it.  Unless they face reality and take strong action, I fear things are only going to get worse.

Last year, according to the human rights group Open Doors, 90% of Christians murdered for their faith worldwide were killed in Nigeria.  Read that number again: 90%.  This staggering number is up from 80% just one year before.  We should remember that Christians comprise nearly half the population of Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa by far.  Yet the Nigerian government – in fear of the radical Islamic militants who continue to pour in through the country’s northern border – continues to persist in its official stance of denial of religious persecution.

Outrageously, the Biden Administration continues to affirm this denial instead of holding the Nigerian government accountable, as we did in the Trump Administration.  We knew Nigeria was tolerating the systematic, violent persecution of its Christians.  My team and I at the State Department placed Nigeria’s government on the Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) list so that we could impose serious consequences if it did not confront the evil extremist groups metastasizing within its borders.

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As I’ve said before, the work that the ACLJ did was very informative for our team at the State Department when we began to evaluate whether or not to designate Nigeria as a CPC. The ACLJ contributed to the data set that underlaid the decision I made.

Unfortunately and predictably, Team Biden not only reversed our good work but also failed to replace it with anything meaningful.

According to emails recently obtained by ACLJ through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) process, the Biden Administration seems more worried about promoting its woke agenda than securing religious freedom.  In the months leading up to the decision to remove Nigeria from the CPC list, Biden’s State Department was considering funding woke projects, like a documentary series meant to “penetrate and analyze the complex and rather phony religious charade that has come to define a large part of [Nigerian] society.”


“The Trinity is a documentary series that attempts to penetrate and analyze the complex and rather phony religious charade that has come to define a larger part of the society. The title of the documentary comes from the three major religions that make up the largest part of the Nigerian society. one must either be a Christian, Muslim or Traditionalist to have a complete Nigerian identity. The rest of the world has long discovered that religion is a fraud and has moved on but Nigerians are still wallowing in misery largely brought on them by religion. A typical Nigerian will face see himself as an adherent of a religion even before he sees himself as a human.”

Another project under consideration included investigating “social constructs” in Nigeria such as “gender roles.”  Regardless of whether these projects were eventually pursued, the very fact that the State Department was wasting time considering them while ignoring staggering persecution is a clear indictment of its priorities.

Let’s be perfectly clear though: The Biden Administration’s approach is intentional.  Its continued failure to fight for religious freedom abroad is symptomatic of the progressive ideology to which it subscribes. Top leaders in this Administration simply do not believe that religion matters.  They view religious faith as either one of many different cultural characteristics, or as an unfortunate feature of a backward society trapped in the past.  Progressive ideology demands its adherents discount the truth and value of religious faith and, instead, view every conflict through the prisms of race, ethnicity, and gender.

This shift in focus at the highest levels of our government has had devastating consequences.  It means the Biden Administration is woefully unprepared to deal with the very real problem of rising Islamic terror against Christians, because it cannot even acknowledge that persecution is occurring for religious reasons.  Time and again, we have seen this Administration trot out absurd platitudes, claiming issues like climate change and economic inequality are the real drivers of instability and that terror groups merely take advantage of it.  Team Biden said as much in its recently published strategy toward Sub-Saharan Africa, where securing religious freedom wasn’t even mentioned.  Instead, proposed policy solutions centered on what were apparently more important matters, like reducing carbon emissions.

The Biden Administration is simply out of touch with reality.  Over the past year, acts of terror and violence by militant Islamic groups in Sub-Saharan Africa – including the Islamic State in West Africa, Fulani Herdsmen, and Boko Haram – increased by 22%.  The resulting fatalities increased by nearly half.  And according to the Global Terrorism Index, Sub-Saharan Africa has now become the “new epicenter of terrorism,” and all on the Biden Administration’s watch.  This is happening in part because the Biden Administration signaled to African nations like Nigeria that it doesn’t really care whether they allow terror and persecution to fester inside their countries.

A foreign policy that takes seriously the issue of ensuring religious freedom elsewhere in the world is critical to serving America’s interests.  The Biden Administration’s continued ignorance of the persecution of Nigeria’s Christians – and its failure to promote and defend religious freedom as a core tenet of America’s foreign policy – betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of how the world orders itself outside the narrow corridors of the Beltway.

We must continue to push for the Biden Administration to recognize this grave error and take real action in Nigeria, which will save lives.

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