As violence rages in the Middle East, Christian sects that have existed for thousands of years are being brutally targeted by extremists. But according to Kirsten Powers at the Daily Beast, Christians in the west are turning a blind eye to the plight of their eastern brethren.

“Christians in the Middle East and Africa are being slaughtered, tortured, raped, kidnapped, beheaded, and forced to flee the birthplace of Christianity. One would think this horror might be consuming the pulpits and pews of American churches. Not so. The silence has been nearly deafening.”

Several deadly attacks against Coptic Christians in Egypt over the past few weeks have marked some of the most violent actions against Middle East Christians since the 14th century, yet Powers is dismayed by the apparent lack of interest from the American public in taking a stand for them.

“In January, Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) penned a letter to 300 Catholic and Protestant leaders complaining about their lack of engagement. ‘Can you, as a leader in the church, help?’ he wrote. ‘Are you pained by these accounts of persecution? Will you use your sphere of influence to raise the profile of this issue — be it through a sermon, writing or media interview?’

“There have been far too few takers.”

“Wolf and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) sponsored legislation last year to create a special envoy at the State Department to advocate for religious minorities in the Middle East and South-Central Asia. It passed in the House overwhelmingly, but died in the Senate. Imagine the difference an outcry from constituents might have made. The legislation was reintroduced in January and again passed the House easily. It now sits in the Senate. According to the office of Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), the sponsor of the bill there, there is no date set for it to be taken up.”