The United Nations has dropped the ball, so the U.S. is going to help victims of persecution and genocide directly. That new policy was announced by Vice President Mike Pence at a speech Wednesday evening at the In Defense of Christians (IDC) annual summit in Washington.
While the U.S. has invested huge sums in UN relief programs, Pence described their poor record in aiding Christians and other vulnerable religious minorities in that region. He also noted the UN’s refusal in many instances to partner with “faith-based groups with proven track records and deep roots in these communities.” “My friends,” the Vice President said, “those days are over.”
Responding to the Trump administration’s new policy to work directly with persecuted communities through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), former Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) called it “good news.” Wolf, long a champion for international religious freedom and now a leader of the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative, said in a release, “This should impact humanitarian aid for those living as Internally Displaced Persons and refugees and stabilization assistance for the Christians and Yezidis returning to areas seized from them by ISIS.”
Vice President Pence also announced that he will be visiting the Middle East in December. He will reportedly visit Israel during the celebration of Hanukkah, as well as Egypt. This week, Pence said, “I promise you one of the messages that I will bring on the President’s behalf to leaders across the region is that now is the time to bring an end to the persecution of Christians and all religious minorities.”
In his speech, Pence recounted victories and ongoing battles against ISIS, he committed to support those persecuted during the terror of that regime, and he expressed his solidarity with those suffering for their faith. He declared, “This is the moment. Now is the time. And America will support these people in their hour of need.”
Notably, earlier this year at Proclaim 17, the NRB International Christian Media Convention in Orlando, the NRB Board of Directors unanimously approved a resolution in support of brothers and sisters in Christ in the Middle East. In particular, the Board declared its solidarity with those persecuted and called on “NRB members and their constituents to urge the United States to take decisive action in defense of Christians threatened by genocide.”
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations
Published: October 27, 2017