With the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church set for this Sunday, November 5, the Institute on Religion & Democracy (IRD) and other groups are encouraging Christians in America to pray for persecuted believers – and to take action.
Specifically, groups such as IRD are calling for American Christians to encourage their Members of Congress to support H.R. 390, the Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief and Accountability Act of 2017, which passed in the House this past June, and is now ready for Senate action after being passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The act would make it U.S. policy “to ensure that assistance for humanitarian, stabilization, and recovery needs of individuals who are or were nationals and residents of Iraq or Syria, and of communities from those countries, is directed toward those individuals and communities with the greatest need, including those individuals from communities of religious and ethnic minorities.” It would also seek to bring the perpetrators of genocide to justice.
“Christians, along with Yazidis and other minorities, have received little aid and protection, in spite of the fact that it is because of their religious affiliation that they are victims of genocide,” commented IRD Religious Liberty Director Faith J.H. McDonnell in a press release.
“Minority communities brutalized by ISIS need help as they try to rebuild their lives instead of just trying to survive from day to day,” she added, noting the lack of assistance from the United Nations and USAID while praising the life-saving efforts of small, faith-based organizations and the local religious communities.
“H.R. 390 is needed because it includes provisions on security and on bringing perpetrators to justice, not just on humanitarian aid,” McDonnell concluded.
Last week, Vice President Mike Pence announced at the In Defense of Christians (IDC) conference banquet that the U.S. would send more aid directly through USAID for Christians, Yazidis, and other religious minorities targeted by ISIS.
In 2016, then-Secretary of State John Kerry designated ISIS crimes as genocide, identifying by name Yazidis, Christians, and other minority groups targeted for extermination by jihadists.
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.”
For resources related to the International Day of Prayer, visit www.persecution.com/idop. Free resources include a Solitary Prayer DVD, church bulletin insert, Power Point slides with specific prayer needs, and information on how to share stories of persecution with children.
By NRB Staff
Published: November 2, 2017