Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) argued this morning that “not one dime” of foreign aid should go to countries that persecute women or Christians.
At a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on global violence against women, Paul brought up the case of Malala Yousufzai, the Pakistani teen who “has insisted on exposing the firefly to daylight” and was shot in the head by the Taliban for her “crime”: “to believe in enlightenment, to believe that out of the darkness tolerance can glow and overpower ignorance.”
“Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian, sits on death row for blasphemy. She says it all began when she drew water from a Muslim well. As she was filling her bowl with water, a crowd formed chanting, ‘Death! Death to the Christian!'” Paul said. “She pleaded for her life. She was pelted with stones, punched in the face and dragged through the streets. The local Imam finally intervened only to say, ‘If you don’t want to die, you must convert to Islam.’ The crowd descended on her again beating her with sticks.”
“Finally, the police stopped the attackers only to arrest her. For over a year now, Asia Bibi has been on death row for the alleged crime of blasphemy. According to her co-workers, she insulted the Prophet. In our country, we refer to such quibbling as gossip. In Pakistan, if you are a Christian, it can land you on death row.”
Meanwhile, the senator stressed, “the U.S. taxpayer has forked over billions of dollars to the Pakistani government, which condones the persecution of Christians.”
“Many countries that receive U.S. foreign aid have laws that officially discriminate against Christians. Persecution of women is wrong. Persecution of Christians is wrong. Persecution of women or Christians in the name of religion must be stood up to. American power, if it is to have value in the world, must be used as a force against persecution. Our aid money, for example, should never go to countries that persecute women or Christians, not one dime. But today, it does,” he continued.
“Some say our foreign aid protects American power. These same people, however, resist attaching conditions to foreign aid. Why would we send aid to countries whose laws punish the free exercise of religion? I believe no aid should go to countries that legally discriminate against women or Christians. We are being taxed to send money to countries that are not only intolerant of Christians, but openly hostile. Christians are imprisoned and threatened with death for their beliefs.”
The job of Washington “as the powerful,” Paul said, “is to use our might to speak for those who cannot.”
“Whether that is the bully pulpit, our foreign aid, our State Department, our immigration policy, or our trade policy, all avenues should be open to us in solving this worldwide problem.”