H.R. 640 Draws Attention to the Issue of Christian Persecution
By guest contributor Peyton Millea
In recent years, cases of Christian persecution around the world have captured the attention of all of those to whom religious freedom matters deeply. We think of Asia Bibi, the Christian mother who was sentenced to death in Pakistan for blasphemy, the hundreds killed by Boko Haram in Nigeria, the bombed Egyptian Coptic churches, and the Chinese Christians that have been forced underground. In 2016, then Secretary of State John Kerry stated that Christian and Yazidi minorities in Northern Iraq and Syria were being killed at genocidal rates. There can be no doubt that Christian believers have targets on their backs and are in imminent danger from their own governments and their own neighbors.
On October 18th, Representative Gary Palmer (R-AL) introduced a resolution into the House of Representatives to condemn global persecution of Christians and recognize some of the most shocking examples of that persecution in recent years, some of which are mentioned above. The resolution has gotten forty-one cosponsors to date and has been referred to the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations for further review.
House Resolution 640 recognizes the truly global problem of Christian persecution. It cites research from the Pew Research Center which finds that “Christians remain the most persecuted religious group in the world,” and 2019 reports from Open Doors USA which state that the top 50 most dangerous countries for Christians are “responsible for 4,136 Christians killed for faith-related reasons, 1,266 church or Christian building attacks, and the detention without trial, arrest, sentencing, and imprisonment of 2,625 Christians.”
In response to these startling statistics and with the support of these forty-one members of congress, the House of Representatives condemns persecution of members of any faith, calls for every government to recognize the right of Christians to practice their faith without fear of persecution, and calls on the State Department to prioritize religious freedom in its foreign policy considerations. These strong statements of support for the world’s Christians will demonstrate to other governments around the world that their ill treatment of Christians does not go unnoticed.
With religious freedom being one of the foundational principles of American life and governance, the American government has an absolute obligation to recognize any instance of Christian persecution and call out any government that perpetrates it. Whether Christians are killed, their places of worship attacked, they are treated as social outcasts, or they forbidden from proselytizing, the persecution must be stopped.
Peyton Millea is a student at American University and a Fall Associate at International Christian Concern
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of International Christian Concern or any of its affiliates