In a hearing on Wednesday, November 4, eight witnesses testified before the Committee on the Judiciary. Some were victims of Iranian or Palestinian terrorism themselves, while others testified on behalf of family members who lost their lives as a result of this extremism. The focus of this hearing was to illuminate the ways in which the American government has failed victims of terrorism. Kenneth Stethem was the first to testify as he tearfully shared the story of his brother, Robert Dean Stethem, who, in 1985, at the age of 23, was tortured and then killed by Hezbollah. The federal government made promises regarding Robert’s death — that justice would be served — but it has been 30 years, and nothing has been done.
Mr. Stethem said,
“This is the way in which the federal government recognized the sacrifice of a 23-year-old American hero who looked a gun barrel and a Hezbollah terrorist directly in the eye and refused to yell into a radio mic for help. This was so that the plane could not be refueled in case a rescue attempt was going to be made.”
Solemnly, he added that Iran has been financially supporting these acts of terrorism against Americans and reminded us all that Iran is listed as a State Sponsor of Terrorism by the U.S. Department of State. Moreover, Iran has had no significant change in leadership, nor has it provided any reason for the United States to assume that it will stop funding terrorism in the future. Perhaps most importantly, Iran has hitherto not been held accountable by the federal government for the acts of terrorism it has committed against Americans.
Daniel Miller, who was abroad in Israel in 1997 after graduating from high school, was having lunch with his friends in Jerusalem when three suicide bombers detonated themselves just a few feet away, killing five and injuring 184. Daniel and his friends miraculously survived, but only after months of recovery and multiple surgeries. In 2003, Daniel and a small group of those who were injured that day filed a lawsuit against Iran. There is no doubt that the attack was made by Hamas, a terrorist organization which receives funding from the Islamic Republic of Iran, but the Department of Justice did almost nothing to help the case.
While the evidence mounts against Iran, the United States and other major world powers are making a nuclear deal with Iran — a deal which will not only pave the way for Iran to acquire nuclear weapons within the next decade, but will also give them a “signing bonus” of $100 billion dollars, while they continue to fund terrorism and actively bring about the destruction of Israel. Daniel Miller finds this deal especially disturbing, given that:
“[t]he administration has said that this deal had nothing to do with terrorism,” and that “[t]he deal was about preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.”
“Regardless of what the deal was intended to do or not, you cannot look me in the face and ask me to separate Iran and terrorism.”
While it may seem hopeless, what appears to be does not have to be. Prayer should not be our last resort, but our first course of action. Although the current administration is ignoring the danger in this “deal,” as well as the interests of Israel, Christians must unite in prayer for our leaders, our country, and the State of Israel. We cannot afford to spend another day on the sidelines. It is high time that Christians in America exercise their faith and back it with action. We must pray for the peace of Jerusalem, knowing that God’s covenant with the Jewish people still stands, not because He “plays favorites,” but because He keeps His promises. This is the God we worship — unchanging, all-knowing, and all-powerful; therefore, we need not worry about the future. Trusting the Lord is a prerequisite. We must remember that our faith demands action, and prayer is the first step.
Elysia Martin is the Senate Legislative Intern for the Concerned Women for America (CWA) Ronald Reagan Memorial Internship Program. To learn more about interning for CWA, click here.