Fox News guest host, actor and model Antonio Sabato Jr., claimed that President Obama has “never talked about” persecuted Christians around the world in criticizing the president's first visit to a U.S. mosque. In reality, Obama has made multiple statements and speeches condemning violence against Christians worldwide.
In First Presidential Visit To U.S. Mosque, Obama Condemned 'Anti-Muslim Bigotry
President Obama Made His First Presidential Visit To A U.S. Mosque, Condemned “Inexcusable Political Rhetoric Against Muslim Americans.” President Obama made his first presidential visit to a U.S. mosque February 3 at the Islamic Society of Baltimore (ISB). USA Today reported that in his remarks, “Obama called for unity among American faith communities, recognized the contributions of Muslim citizens, and asked for Muslims around the world to help combat the extremist ideologies of groups like the Islamic State” :
In his first visit to an American mosque Wednesday, President Obama condemned “inexcusable political rhetoric against Muslim Americans that has no place in our country.”
Speaking to Muslim Americans at the Islamic Society of Baltimore, Obama called for unity among American faith communities, recognized the contributions of Muslim citizens, and asked for Muslims around the world to help combat the extremist ideologies of groups like the Islamic State. [USA Today, 2/3/16]
Fox News Guest Host Sabato Criticizes Obama's Mosque Visit, Claiming He's Never Addressed Problem Of “Christians Are Being Slaughtered” Worldwide
Outnumbered: “There Is An Epidemic Right Now Worldwide That Christians Are Being Slaughtered. This President Has Never Talked About It Once.” During the February 3 edition of Fox News' Outnumbered, guest host Antonio Sabato Jr., an actor and model, criticized Obama's mosque visit, saying, “Christians are being slaughtered” worldwide and “this president has never talked about it once” :
ANTONIO SABATO JR.: When was last time that actually President Obama went to see and talk to Christians and talked to churches? This is a president who just made the biggest deal with the biggest terrorist country in the world. And Christians are being killed all over the world. This president has tried to take out the Bible from schools, “in God we trust.” All these things are just slowly going away and in the meantime he's going to a mosque and there's all this association with terrorists. You know Bush, you brought, I mean, it was a different time. Also, Bush used to pray every morning. He was a Christian. So you kind of knew that this guy actually went to church. President Obama, he's never talked about Christians. There is an epidemic right now, worldwide, that Christians are being slaughtered. This president has never talked about it once. He's never talked about Jesus Christ once in his career. And that's the problem to me because I have a president who I believe is not a true Christian.
HARRIS FAULKNER (HOST): Well, the White House would tell you that is not the case and -
SABATO: Well --
FAULKNER: And he did meet with the pope, but I mean there is flip side in all of that. But one thing is for certain, his staff had to have looked at this mosque. They had to have known the reports -
SABATO: Well talking about the pope -
FAULKNER: The facts that are out there -
SABATO: He met, I mean the pope just met with, the pope just met in the Vatican City with the leaders of Iran, so I mean, does not say much about the president meeting with the pope at all. The president should be going to churches in this country and talk to Christians, and leaders, and just make a point that he is with them all the way. [Fox News, Outnumbered, 2/3/16]
Obama Has Repeatedly Spoken Out Against Violence Against Christians
Obama: “We Join With People Around The World Praying For God's Protection For Persecuted Christians.” President Obama addressed “persecuted Christians” in a December 23, 2015, speech, noting that he and first lady Michelle Obama “are ever-mindful that many of our fellow Christians ... have been driven far from their ancient homelands by unspeakable violence and persecution.” He also said they “join with people around the world in praying for God's protection for persecuted Christians” :
During this season of Advent, Christians in the United States and around the world are preparing to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. At this time, those of us fortunate enough to live in countries that honor the birthright of all people to practice their faith freely give thanks for that blessing. Michelle and I are also ever-mindful that many of our fellow Christians do not enjoy that right, and hold especially close to our hearts and minds those who have been driven from their ancient homelands by unspeakable violence and persecution.
In some areas of the Middle East where church bells have rung for centuries on Christmas Day, this year they will be silent; this silence bears tragic witness to the brutal atrocities committed against these communities by ISIL.
We join with people around the world in praying for God's protection for persecuted Christians and those of other faiths, as well as for those brave men and women engaged in our military, diplomatic, and humanitarian efforts to alleviate their suffering and restore stability, security, and hope to their nations.
[WhiteHouse.gov, Office Of The Press Secretary, 12/23/15]
Obama: “Children Of God, Including Christians, Are Targeted And Even Killed Because Of Their Faith.” During his September 23, 2015, remarks with Pope Francis, President Obama stated that “here in the United States, we cherish our religious liberty, but around the world, at this very moment, children of God, including Christians, are targeted and even killed, because of their faith” :
Here in the United States, we cherish religious liberty. It was the basis for so much of what brought us together. And here in the United States, we cherish our religious liberty, but around the world, at this very moment, children of God, including Christians, are targeted and even killed because of their faith. Believers are prevented from gathering at their places of worship. The faithful are imprisoned, and churches are destroyed. So we stand with you in defense of religious freedom and interfaith dialogue, knowing that people everywhere must be able to live out their faith free from fear and free from intimidation. [WhiteHouse.gov, Office Of The Press Secretary, 9/23/15]
Obama: “We're Going To Keep Up This Work -- For ... All Those Around The World Who Are Unjustly Held Or Persecuted Because Of Their Faith.” In his February 5, 2015, National Prayer Breakfast speech, President Obama vowed to stand in solidarity and “keep up this work-- for ... all those around the world who are unjustly held or persecuted because of their faith” in regard to his work with an American pastor detained in Iran since 2012 (emphasis added):
Last year, we prayed together for Pastor Saeed Abedini, detained in Iran since 2012. And I was recently in Boise, Idaho, and had the opportunity to meet with Pastor Abedini's beautiful wife and wonderful children and to convey to them that our country has not forgotten brother Saeed and that we're doing everything we can to bring him home. And then, I received an extraordinary letter from Pastor Abedini. And in it, he describes his captivity, and expressed his gratitude for my visit with his family, and thanked us all for standing in solidarity with him during his captivity.
And Pastor Abedini wrote, “Nothing is more valuable to the Body of Christ than to see how the Lord is in control, and moves ahead of countries and leadership through united prayer.” And he closed his letter by describing himself as “prisoner for Christ, who is proud to be part of this great nation of the United States of America that cares for religious freedom around the world.” (Applause.)
We're going to keep up this work -- for Pastor Abedini and all those around the world who are unjustly held or persecuted because of their faith. And we're grateful to our new Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, Rabbi David Saperstein -- who has hit the ground running, and is heading to Iraq in a few days to help religious communities there address some of those challenges. [WhiteHouse.gov, Office Of The Press Secretary, 2/5/15]