While Christian persecution receives scant coverage from many in the media, it’s a priority for the Trump administration, according to the vice president.
Vice President Mike Pence slammed “radical Islamic terrorists” for committing “genocide” against Christians at the In Defense of Christians Solidarity Dinner in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 25. In a show of support for suffering Christians, Pence announced that the government will halt funding for the United Nations’ “ineffective relief efforts” and instead work with private and faith-based organizations to directly care for “persecuted communities” via USAID. Video below.
The following morning news shows from ABC, CBS and NBC on Oct. 26 didn’t report his announcement.
From the beginning, Pence pointed to President Trump’s support of persecuted Christians.
“The President asked me to be here tonight because we both believe, along with all of you, that ‘American leadership’ is crucial to ‘securing the future of Christians in the Middle East’ and to protecting all who are persecuted across the wider world,” he began.
“Christianity is under unprecedented assault in those ancient lands where it first grew,” he confirmed. “Many of the Christian communities that first embraced the message of Christ are today the targets of unspeakable acts of violence and atrocity.”
For examples, he included the Palm Sunday church bombings in Egypt, monasteries decimated and religious leaders beheaded in Iraq and the slavery of women and children in Syria.
He emphasized that he and the president recognized the perpetrators of these “vile acts of persecution animated by hatred for Christians” as “radical Islamic terrorists.”
For evidence of the administration’s commitment to those persecuted, he pointed to the “fight against the embodiment of evil in our time” or ISIS, which is now “on the run.”
“[B]e assured this administration calls these vicious actions by ISIS what they truly are – they are genocide and they are crimes against humanity,” he said.
Again and again, the three broadcast networks have refused to do the same: use “genocide” to describe ISIS’ persecution of Christians and religious minorities. No matter that both the Obama administration, in 2016, and the Trump administration, in 2017, formally accused ISIS of genocide.
To support his words with actions, Pence revealed that he will travel to the Middle East in December and declared that the administration would redirect money away from the United Nations to aid the persecuted.
“[I]t is my privilege to announce that President Trump has ordered the State Department to stop funding ineffective relief efforts at the United Nations,” Pence announced. “And from this day forward, America will provide support directly to persecuted communities through USAID.”
“We will no longer rely on the United Nations alone to assist persecuted Christians and minorities in the wake of genocide and the atrocities of terrorist groups,” he added, but instead work with “faith-based groups and private organizations.”
He slammed the United Nations for inaction:
Here’s the sad reality: The United Nations claims that more than 160 projects are in Christian areas, but for a third of those projects, there are no Christians to help. The believers in Nineveh, Iraq, have had less than 2 percent of their housing needs addressed, and the majority of Christians and Yazidis remain in shelters.
Projects that are supposedly marked ‘finished’ have little more than a U.N. flag hung outside an unusable building, in many cases a school.
And while faith-based groups with proven track records and deep roots in these communities are more than willing to assist, the United Nations too often denies their funding requests. My friends, those days are over.
He received a standing ovation multiple times during his comments. The vice president made similar remarks against ISIS at the World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians back in May.
According to Open Doors USA, on average per month 322 Christians are martyred for their faith, 214 “churches and Christian properties are destroyed” and 772 “forms of violence are committed against Christians (e.g., beatings, abductions, rapes, arrests and forced marriages).”
In August 2016, the MRC found that, in the past two-and-half years, the evening news shows reported on the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia only 60 times. And of those 60 reports, just six used the word “genocide.”