WASHINGTON — Vice President Mike Pence confirmed the Trump administration’s commitment to address persecution of Christians around the world and encouraged the Americans to call the Islamic terrorist attacks genocide during a speech Thursday.
“Throughout the world, no people of faith today face greater hostility or hatred than the followers of Christ,” Pence said at the World Summit In Defense of Persecuted Christians, organized by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA).
The first World Summit contains influential religious leaders all over the world, including delegations from Russia, Syria and Egypt, with representatives from Protestant and Roman Catholic denominations in America.
“The [Christian] faith is under siege,” Pence told the audience of around 600 people, particularly by ISIS and radical Islamic terrorists. Across the world, “over 215 million Christians confront intimidation, imprisonment, forced conversion, abuse, assault, and worse for holding to the truths of the Gospel,” Pence said.
The diminishing of Christianity in Syria, Iraq and in Middle East, where “the messages of our Lord were first uttered,” must be addressed, Pence continued. Extremist groups like ISIS and Boko Haram “seek to stamp out any religions that are not their own” and harbor a particular hatred of Christians, in Pence opinion.
“I believe ISIS is guilty of nothing short of genocide against people of the Christian faith, and it is time the world called it by name,” he said.
President Trump condemned the ISIS attack on Egyptian Coptic Churches April 9, as “heinous terrorist attack.”
There are other religious groups affected by this violence, and the administration is going to protect them as well, said Pence. . “As history attests, persecution of one faith is persecution of all faiths,” He stated.
Pence said that he being at the World Summit was actual sign of Trump’s commitment to defend religious freedom around the world, having in mind that he was raised Roman Catholic but now identifies as an Evangelical.
The executive order on religious liberty, signed May 4 by Trump, made less complicated some regulations on religious groups which advocate for political causes, anyhow many church leaders, including Franklin Graham have their doubts about the long term effects.
“Could more be done? Yes,” Graham, told The Washington Post. “I think we’ll take what we can take when we can get it. Eighty percent is better than nothing.”
Franklin Graham, president of the BGEA, proposed a prayer of gratitude for Pence, asking God to protect the Vice President, his wife and family.
Graham also prayed for Trump. “I pray as Vice President Pence advises him, that you would give him wisdom,” Franklin stated.
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