Jeff Walton writes for the Institute for Religion and Democracy’s weblog, Juicy Ecumenism:
Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) and Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA), co-chairs of the bipartisan Religious Minorities in the Middle East Caucus, hosted a Capitol Hill press conference this morning featuring several prominent American Christian leaders who will be releasing a “Pledge of Solidarity & Call to Action” on behalf of Christians and other religious communities in Egypt, Iraq and Syria who are increasingly threatened in the lands they have inhabited for centuries.
… IRD President Mark Tooley commented: “I am honored to stand with so many Christian leaders ecumenically across the spectrum in a rare unity in defense of persecuted fellow Christians in the Middle East. “Let’s pray and work so this pledge signifies a new, determined and permanent coalition ensuring that Christians in America at least are not silent about the suffering church in the ancient lands where the apostles first preached.”
The document says, in part:
We are compelled to ask: Why are the Christians currently being killed or driven out? These communities represent openness to others and a desire for truth, even if inconvenient. They love learning and seek an equal share in building their respective nations. They do not believe in retaliation and embrace forgiveness. They respect individual life as an end in itself not as a means. These are attributes many Muslims also share and ones that any country would appreciate.
Even as we pledge to do all within our power to alleviate the suffering of Christians and other small religious communities in the Middle East, we urgently appeal for action from our government to recognize and act upon the unique plight of these religious communities.
More than 100 Christian leaders supporting the document include:
- Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals
- Robert Duncan, Archbishop, Anglican Church in North America
- Timothy George, Dean, Beeson Divinity School
- Russell D. Moore, President, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
- Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop, the Episcopal Church
- Mark Tooley, President, Institute on Religion & Democracy
- Jim Wallis, President and Founder, Sojourners
- Donald Wuerl, Cardinal and Archbishop, Archdiocese of Washington
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