Religions are not equal when it comes to evaluating refugees. There are non-sectarian reasons to favor members of minority faiths, especially in the Middle East where religious minorities have suffered disproportionately.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia does not share values with America, democratic or other. Saudi Arabia is at best a slightly more civilized variant of the Islamic State.
Needy people can be helped overseas as well as at home. Last year I visited Zaartari Refugee Camp, located just a few miles from the Syrian border in Jordan. I was traveling with International Orthodox Christian Charities, which carries out an expansive ministry addressing the many needs of Syrians inside and outside of their country.
At the Saudis’ behest Washington backs their misbegotten war in Yemen and remains formally committed to the overthrow of Syrian President Bashir al-Assad, the strongest force opposing the far more dangerous Islamic State. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia also underwrites extremist Islamic teaching in madrassas around the world.
NGOs offer the best means for Americans to help Syrians in need. There are many worthy organizations. Last year I traveled with International Orthodox Christian Charities to Lebanon and Jordan to view several aid projects. Since 2012 the charity has helped more than 3.2 million Syrians throughout the Middle East.
The only serious alternative to fully reentering the war is to step back, making clear that the Islamic State’s neighbors will bear the cost of any further advances.