In a recent presidential press brief, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest was under the gun for a statement he made concerning the recent beheadings of twenty-one Egyptian Coptic Christian men by the terrorist group, ISIS. Earnest had responded to the murders, on behalf of President Obama, by condemning the actions. However, in his written statement, he referred to the men as “citizens,” rather than Christians.
Fox News reporter Ed Henry pressed Earnest on why he chose that language, since the video of the beheadings made it clear the men were killed because of their Christian faith. The motivation was so clear that even Pope Francis spoke out on the subject.
Henry also pointed out that the President had issued a statement on the murders of three young people in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and had referred to the religious faith of the victims. The case is being investigated as a possible hate crime, although the motivation of the killer is still undetermined. If Obama was willing to cite the religion of the Muslim victims, why did he not accord the same status to the Christian victims of ISIS?
Earnest backtracked, citing Obama’s recent prayer breakfast statement affirming the importance of freedom of religion.