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Jeffress: ISIS requires heavy U.S. response

NEW YORK (BP) — The United States must do “whatever is necessary — including boots on the ground — to eradicate this cancer of ISIS and radical Islam before it destroys us,” Southern Baptist pastor Robert Jeffress said on “The O’Reilly Factor” Feb. 17.

[IMGCAPTION=3965@right@50%]Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, contended on the Fox News program hosted by Bill O’Reilly that President Obama is “continually lecturing us that we’re not in a religious war against Islam.”

“While that’s true, it’s time for this president to get off his high horse and acknowledge that radical Islam is in a religious war against us,” Jeffress said.

Until Americans understand they’re targets in a war, they won’t grasp the dangers ahead, he warned.

“These Islamists will not rest until they’ve exterminated every Jew and every Christian from the face of the earth, and if you think that is hyperbole, just listen to what they said on that Libyan beach after they butchered those 21 Christians,” Jeffress said.

ISIS, in a video titled “A Message Signed with Blood to the Nation of the Cross” released Feb. 16, beheaded a group of Egyptian Coptic Christians and said they intend to conquer Rome next.

“While Rome may be their next stop, I guarantee you it won’t be their final stop,” Jeffress said. “They’re coming after every one of us as well if we don’t stop them now.”

O’Reilly said Obama seems to be downplaying the threat of ISIS to the United States. He asked Jeffress to surmise why.

“I think part of it is the influence of Islam on his own life,” Jeffress said. “He sees radical Islam as a tiny minority, and while that’s true, a powerful minority is much more potent than a passive majority.”

Rather than acknowledging that ISIS is a branch of Islam, Obama seems to hope that if he ignores or contains the threat it will go away, Jeffress said.

“This is not going away,” the pastor said.

Jeffress said he believes in the prophecies of the Bible, “that things are going to get worse before the Lord returns, but that is no excuse for fatalism, and I believe that Christians ought to be on the forefront of fighting this evil, and this is unmitigated evil — burning people alive.”

Jeffress called on Christians everywhere to “demand that this president do whatever is necessary — including boots on the ground — to eradicate this cancer of ISIS and radical Islam before it destroys us.”

O’Reilly noted that Obama, in a statement condemning the beheadings, referred to the victims only as Egyptian citizens rather than acknowledging that Muslims brutalized Christians.

“These weren’t activists or soldiers or anything like that,” O’Reilly said of the Christians. “They were poor people who went from Egypt to Libya to try to make a buck for their family, and [ISIS] rounded them up and they cut their heads off.”

Also appearing on the show was Gerald Murray of Holy Family Catholic Church in New York, who said Pope Francis “will continue to say that the West has a duty to protect the innocent and fight this.”

O’Reilly lamented a lack of moral leadership regarding ISIS. “A cohesive moral leadership does not exist on this earth,” he said.

Reiterating Jeffress’ call for Christians to demand action, O’Reilly said, “I think all Christians, Jews and secularists who love their country and want to protect humanity should email and call the White House and say, ‘Enough.'”

O’Reilly also called on “every pastor, every priest, every rabbi and every imam” in the country to address the matter with their congregations this week by saying, “We people of good faith have to tell our leader to get in gear.”

In related news:

— President Obama, during a summit on countering violent extremism at the White House Feb. 18, said “many Muslim Americans are worried and afraid.” He emphasized that ISIS leaders “try to portray themselves as religious leaders — holy warriors in defense of Islam” but “they are not religious leaders. They’re terrorists.”

The president said no religion is responsible for terrorism. “People are responsible for violence and terrorism,” he said. Obama rejected the notion that terrorists like ISIS genuinely represent Islam, and he said Muslim Americans are “most targeted and potentially most affected” by the threat of violent extremism.

“Muslim Americans protect our communities as police officers and firefighters and first responders and protect our nation by serving in uniform and in our intelligence communities and in homeland security,” Obama said. “And in cemeteries across our country, including at Arlington, Muslim American heroes rest in peace, having given their lives in defense of all of us. And of course that’s the story extremists and terrorists don’t want the world to know — Muslims succeeding and thriving in America.”

— Evangelist Franklin Graham, in comments posted on Facebook Feb. 16, asked, “Can you imagine the outcry if 21 Muslims had been beheaded by Christians? Where is the universal condemnation by Muslim leaders around the world?”

Graham added, “As we mourn with the families of those 21 martyrs, we’d better take this warning seriously as these acts of terror will only spread throughout Europe and the United States.”

In a subsequent post, Graham said the evil of ISIS “shouldn’t shock us.”

“God’s Word tells us that there will be a final battle one day, but it will result in the defeat of Satan and all those allied with him,” Graham wrote. “One thing is for sure — one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

— Columnist Peggy Noonan wrote in The Wall Street Journal that President Obama “has been way out of sync with American public opinion on Islamic State.”

“The president’s long-reigning assumption is that a war-weary public has grown more isolationist,” Noonan wrote last fall. “But … more than 6 in 10 back moving militarily against Islamic State.”

She credited Christian news outlets including “the Baptist press” with informing Americans of the atrocities committed by ISIS against Christians in the Middle East.

“The anguish and indignation of American Christians at what is being done, by Islamic State, to their brothers and sisters in faith is surely part of the reason Americans are backing U.S. action against the terror group,” Noonan wrote.

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  • Erin Roach