- - Monday, March 9, 2015

Over the years it’s been disturbing to see an increased effort by the federal government to punish and marginalize Christianity. After all, we know the separation of church and state is meant to keep the federal government from establishing an official state religion; it’s not about eliminating faith from the public square. And yet if you were to look at federal actions since Barack Obama became president, there is a certain trend of promoting and embracing one religion (Islam) while punishing and marginalizing another (Christianity).

This week, as an example, we learned from the Daily Caller that an Islamist imam based in Pennsylvania, Egyptian-born Fouad ElBayly, who called for the death of activist and author Ayaan Hirsi Ali, has received two contracts from the federal government to teach “guidance and leadership” to Muslims in prison.

That’s right. A man who called for the death of a woman for speaking her mind about Islam has received almost $13,000 in tax dollars to “teach” other Muslims in prison. There are numerous Muslims in this country who have not only not called for the death of anyone, but reject Mr. ElBayly’s sort of tripe. Yet they have not been embraced by the federal government and given a paid forum with which to influence a group especially vulnerable to Islamic radicalization.

Strange, no?

Former Muslim Ayaan Hirsi Ali regularly criticizes the religion’s treatment of women. It was the “sin” of speaking her mind that generated this craven statement from ElBayly in 2007: “She has been identified as one who has defamed the faith. If you come into the faith, you must abide by the laws, and when you decide to defame it deliberately, the sentence is death.”

The comments received national attention at the time, and the Daily Caller notes Mr. ElBayly eventually apologized, but what are the American people to think when this is the man chosen by the federal government to provide supposed leadership to other Muslims?

Looking at the actions of the Obama regime exposes a peculiar religious fixation, arguably a comfortable preference for Islam and bizarre hostility toward Christianity. The administration’s countless statements and comments by the president defending Islam and insisting over and over again what Islam is or is not is a hallmark of this presidency.

In the meantime, the administration is punishing and marginalizing Christians and Christianity. As a small sample, in 2011, Fox News reported, “The U.S. military removed a large cross that had been displayed outside a chapel at Camp Marmal in northern Afghanistan because it violated Army regulations.” Outraged soldiers told Politico “that the cross made the chapel feel like home and others found comfort in the religious symbol. “I really don’t understand why Christians are always attacked,” one service member told Politico. “If it was a crescent moon on top of a mosque, it would never be taken down.”

In 2013, after President Obama secured his re-election, Breitbart reported, “Pentagon may court-martial soldiers who share Christian faith.” This followed a report that “Obama administration Pentagon appointees” met with an “[anti-Christian activist] to develop court-martial procedures to punish Christians in the military who express or share their faith.”

Also in 2013, a U.S. Army training program began to teach that some Christian and conservative groups were “domestic hate groups.” Only after Todd Starnes at Fox News publicized the effort did the Army backtrack.

Mr. Obama has trouble even uttering the word “Christian.” After 21 Egyptian Christians were beheaded by ISIS Islamist thugs in February, the White House referred to the victims only as Egyptian “citizens.”

A CBS affiliate in Washington, D.C. covered the fallout: “Fox News contributors George Will and Charles Krauthammer criticized the White House for not referring to the Egyptians as Christians”: “Wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall in the room where the White House semanticists meet every morning and figure out how they could probably make this announcement without offending those who did it. I think the phrase they should come up with is non-Islamic randomness,” Mr. Will said on Fox News Monday. “That would explain just about everything that they have to deal with, but it does — at this point, it is beyond burlesque, its pathological, it’s clinical their inability and unwillingness to say — to accurately describe things.”

Under the guidance and leadership of Mr. Obama, Christianity and Christians seem to be punished, attacked and marginalized, while another religion, Islam, is defended, touted and promoted.

Add to that what we learned this week about the federal government paying an Islamist, who declared a woman should be put to death for her opinion about Islam, to teach Muslims in prison.

At the very least, we should all be asking, why?

Tammy Bruce is a radio talk-show host, author and Fox News contributor.

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