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Psst theres already a religious test for Syrian refugees
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Politicians have called for a religious test for Syrian refugees. But it looks like there's already one that stacks the deck against Christians. - photo by Herb Scribner
After a group of attackers spread terror across Paris last week, theres been some debate among politicians about whether or not to allow Syrian refugees into the United States. States such as Alabama, Michigan, Louisiana and a wealth of others have already decided not to allow refugees.

Similarly, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said on CNNs "State of the Union" last week that the United States needs to improve the vetting process for letting refugees into the country by including a religious test for the refugees to prove theyre Christian, which I wrote about earlier this week.

President Barack Obama didnt favor the comment, though. During the G20 summit Monday, Obama told world leaders that requiring a religious test or specifically allowing in only Christians is a dark impulse one that should not be followed, according to RawStory.

But, it turns out, Syrian refugees religion may actually already play a part in whether or not theyre allowed into the United States, according to the Center for Security Policy (CSP), which may show a bias against Christians.

As of last Monday, more than 2,100 Syrian refugees have entered the United States since Syrias civil war began in 2011, and only 53 (2.4 percent) of those refugees are Christian, while about 2,000 (96 percent) are Muslim, according to the State Department.

The rest of the refugees are from a variety of smaller religions: one Yazidi, eight Jehovah's Witnesses, two Bahai, six Zoroastrians, six of other religion, seven of no religion, and three atheists, according to the State Department.

In total, though, Christians make up between 10 to 23 percent of all Syrian refugees throughout the world, according to the Center for Security Policy. But in the United States, they account for "only 2.4 percent. That is heavily suggestive that there is a systematic bias against Christian refugees within the system, the CSP explained.

There are a few reasons for this, according to the CSP. For one, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees decides which refugees will be sent to the United States and Christians will overwhelmingly avoid United Nations refugee camps out of legitimate fears of possible violence against them, the Center for Security Policy reported.

The United Nations also works closely with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, a group thats based in Saudi Arabia, where Christianity is illegal, according to the Center for Security Policy, which may make it harder for Christians to be supported among U.N. policymakers.

The State Department itself has also blocked efforts for private groups to fund Syrian Christian refugees coming to the United States and has not supported a specific category of refugees just for Christians, according to the Center for Security Policy.

So its true that there is a religious test for refugee admittance into the United States, but it is a deck stacked against Christians, not for them, the Center for Security Policy said.

But John Nolte of Breitbart News said that this "religious test" is mostly through the United Nations and not through the United States.

"We do have a religious test, and for plausible deniability, one that is administered by the United Nations," according to Breitbart News. "And as a result, those refugees being discriminated are both Christians and those who are the most victimized and persecuted in Syria."

A religious test that filters out refugees by religion in the United States isnt likely to come anytime soon. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) said Monday that an upcoming House bill that will "enhance security screenings for Syrian refugees" wont include a religious test, according to The Hill.

Rather, the bill is meant to prevent Syrian and Iraqi refugees from coming to the United States, unless the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and director of national intelligence can all agree that the refugee doesnt threaten national security, The Hill reported.

Creating a formal religious test for refugees, Ryan said, wont necessarily keep America safe.

People understand the plight of those fleeing the Middle East. But they also want basic assurances for the safety of this country, Ryan said from the House floor. We can be compassionate and we can also be safe. I dont think its asking too much. I also want to point out that we will not have a religious test. Only a security test.
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