Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, President & CEO of NRB, joined other prominent Christian leaders on Capitol Hill this week to declare solidarity with Christians suffering persecution in the Middle East. Invited by Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), co-chairs of the bipartisan Religious Minorities in the Middle East Caucus, Dr. Johnson took the opportunity to highlight brutal slayings of Christians in Turkey and Egypt, and he pledged not to be silent in the face of such attacks.
“Persecution against Christians is real,” expressed Dr. Johnson in a release. “Leaders in the United States must be a voice against such violence and intimidation inflicted on our Christian brothers and sisters, and indeed any religious minority, in the Middle East and around the world.”
The Capitol Hill event was spurred by the release of a "Pledge of Solidarity & Call to Action" on behalf of Christians and other religious minorities in Egypt, Iraq, and Syria – areas where anti-Christian actions have been particularly troublesome in recent years. The Pledge notes, “Now facing an existential threat to their presence in the lands where Christianity has its roots, the Churches in the Middle East fear they have been largely ignored by their coreligionists in the West… American religious leaders need to pray and speak with greater urgency about this human rights crisis.”
Dr. Johnson is among more than 175 Christian leaders already signed on to this call to action. Other signatories include:
“I thank God for the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution," commented Dr. Johnson. "We often focus, as we should, on defending the integrity of its freedoms of religion and speech here at home. But we must also export them abroad.”
Earlier this year, the NRB Board of Directors unanimously adopted a Resolution urging the Obama Administration “to actively advocate to the international community the principles of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.” The Board also honored retiring Rep. Wolf for his longtime leadership in Congress on behalf of international religious freedom and called for final passage of legislation (H.R. 301) sponsored by him and Rep. Eshoo that would create a special envoy at the State Department focusing specifically on the situations facing religious minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia.
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations
Published: May 9, 2014