As the United States government struggles to evacuate American citizens and Afghan allies from Kabul before its Aug. 31 deadline, private nonprofits are stepping up to save persecuted people of faith.
Since Monday, thousands of Afghan Christians have left Afghanistan with the help of nongovernmental organizations, including The Nazarene Fund, which is led by Operation Underground Railroad’s Tim Ballard and conservative radio personality Glenn Beck, among others.
Beck is currently in the Middle East assisting with these evacuation flights, and he’s been offering regular updates about his efforts on social media and his radio show.
“May God bless the refugees and (their) new home countries and may he heal their land. These refugees are good and faithful servants that make me embarrassed to call myself Christian,” he said Thursday in an Instagram post.
Attacks on the Biden administration are sprinkled throughout Beck’s posts. The media personality alleges that the U.S. government is doing more to hinder than to help The Nazarene Fund’s rescue missions.
“Due to the State Department blocking us seemingly every step of the way, I will only tell you where (we’re headed) after the refugees are on the ground,” he said Thursday.
Nadine Maenza, chairwoman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, told World that communication problems between different governmental agencies have left Afghan Christians in the lurch.
“At this point we are having to run operations against our own government to get people into the airport,” she said.
Similarly, Nina Shea, director of the Center for Religious Freedom at the Hudson Institute, told Catholic News Agency, that she’s been directing people in need to Beck’s organization rather than to American officials.
“I’ve started receiving panicked emails from Afghan Christians through their Western contacts. They are not being allowed to board USG (U.S. government) flights in Kabul. I’m advising them to try to board Glenn Beck’s flights instead,” she said.
As the world abandons Afghan minorities to the Taliban, Glenn Beck - emulating Oscar Schindler - did something about it, putting into practice the injunction to “Rescue those who are being taken away to death…and those stumbling to the slaughter.”Heroic. https://t.co/FAKYl4sWxz— Lord (David) Alton (@DavidAltonHL) August 25, 2021
Christians are among those endangered by Taliban rule because of the group’s commitment to an extreme form of Islam. Earlier this month, Taliban leaders reportedly sent letters to Afghan churches saying, “We know who you are and we’re coming for you.”
“The Taliban’s imposition of their harsh and strict interpretation of Sunni Islam in the areas that they have taken over poses a grave threat to all Afghans of differing interpretations and other faiths or beliefs,” Maenza said in an Aug. 23 statement.
At that time, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom called on the government to prioritize the evacuation of members of religious minority groups.
Sam Brownback, who served as ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom under former President Donald Trump, made a similar appeal on Thursday.
“The (State Department) should grant visas to Afghan religious minorities so they can leave the country immediately. This is a life or death matter,” he tweeted.
However, Christians, Hindus and Sikhs in the country are far from the only Afghans in need of help.
“The United States and its allies say they have mounted one of the largest air evacuations ever, bringing out more than 88,000 people” in the past week, World magazine reported. But still, thousands of men, women and children are awaiting assistance and fearing what the future will hold.
“The spiritual warfare that is going on right now, I mean, everything has been a battle,” Beck said Sunday. “It’s just a battle of good versus evil.”