You may have read that Senator Ted Cruz was booed off the stage at the In Defense of Christians conference. What makes it really bad is that people from differing viewpoints were deliberately invited to that conference. What could have been a speech that would express one point of view for the sake of discussion, became a terribly embarrassing moment that was played up by the national media. Sadly, this forced the President of the conference to have to issue a full apology.
In Defense of Christians President Toufic Baaklini issued the following statement in response to a disruption at the Inaugural Summit Gala Dinner: “As Cardinal Rai so eloquently put it to the attendees of the In Defense of Christians’ inaugural Summit gala dinner: ‘At every wedding, there are a few problems.’ In this case, a few politically motivated opportunists chose to divide a room that for more than 48 hours sought unity in opposing the shared threat of genocide, faced not only by our Christian brothers and sisters, but our Jewish brothers and sisters and people of all other faiths and all people of good will.
“Tonight’s injection of politics when the focus should have been on unity and faith, momentarily played into the hands of a few who do not adhere to IDC’s principles. They were made no longer welcome.
“When we set out to form In Defense of Christians, many in the foreign policy and faith-based communities said such an effort was impossible. That it would be too difficult to bring such a diverse group of Christian sects, religious and human rights organizations together to draw attention not only to the plight of the deteriorating situation facing our Christians brothers and sisters, but also to the plight of all people of faith, in the Middle East who are suffering.
The people who caused the problem were thrown out. Unfortunately, it was too late. An USA Senator was publicly embarrassed. I do not agree with many of Senator Ted Cruz’s political points. But, I also do not agree with disrespecting an USA Senator (or Representative, or the President, or a soldier, or even anyone). Worse, a good faith effort to try to find some linkages that just possibly might bring about a balanced united USA policy toward the Middle East may have been partially derailed.
Let me go farther. I think that Senator Cruz is wrong on some of the points he made. But, here was an opportunity to trigger discussion, to reach agreement, to perhaps take some wholesome steps toward an united strategy. And a few people who had no courtesy, no respect, no sense of what is appropriate decided that they had to protest in a conference designed to let various factions air their views. As Queen Victoria would have said, “We are not amused.”