Letter: Columnist overstates Christian refugee crisis

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I want to thank Julie McDonald-Smith for drawing attention to the humanitarian crisis in the Middle East in her recent column. I value her effort to look beyond our borders and and shine a light on those in deep crisis and in need of the world’s attention and support. Unfortunately, in placing blame on the shoulders of the Obama administration for a perceived abandonment of a specific group, I believe McDonald-Smith is abandoning logic and reality to make a political point.

It is important to note that Iraq’s 200,000 Christians compare to a Muslim population of well over 30 million, or a ratio of approximately 1 Christian per 150 Muslims. As McDonald-Smith points out, Christians are but one of the “infidel” groups targeted by the extremist Islamic State. Many Muslim population groups are also persecuted. Based on demographics alone, one would expect that for each Christian refugee admitted to the U.S. from Iraq, 150 Muslim refugees would also be admitted; yet, as McDonald-Smith points out, the U.S. government is granting refugee status to Christian Iraqis at a rate 30 times higher than would be expected (1-to-5 vs. 1-to-150). This suggests exactly the opposite of what McDonald-Smith asserts. Perhaps the Obama administration does in fact have a policy to preference Christian refugees from Iraq after all.

John R. Pasch