The U.S. House of Representative voted 393 to zero on Monday night that the Islamic State’s assaults on religious minorities in Iraq and Syria constitute genocide.
The vote comes in the lead-up to a deadline set for the US state department to make a call on whether to designate the crimes as genocide.
The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, issued a call Monday to support a petition to stop genocide in the Middle East and convince the U.S. Department of State to include Christians in any formal declaration of genocide.
“For months, the Catholic Church has been a voice for Christians and other religious minorities facing the evil of deadly persecution,” Archbishop Kurtz said. “Please, make sure your name is added to the witness. The very future of the ancient Christian presence in the Middle East is at stake.”
The petition is available at: www.stopthechristiangenocide.org.
Archbishop Kurtz’ full statement follows:
Join Me in the Pledge to Stop Christian Genocide
A Statement from Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville,
President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Today, the people of God must speak up for our brothers and sisters facing genocide in the Middle East. I urge every Catholic to sign the petition at www.stopthechristiangenocide.org. As a people of faith, we must convince the United States Department of State to include Christians in any formal declaration of genocide.
For months, the Catholic Church has been a voice for Christians and other religious minorities facing the evil of deadly persecution. Now, the State Department is expected to make a decision within days. A resolution, H. Con. Res. 75, is also gaining bipartisan support in Congress. Please, make sure your name is added to the witness. The very future of the ancient Christian presence in the Middle East is at stake.
I am grateful to my brother bishops, the Knights of Columbus and all the faithful who have struggled to keep a focus on suffering Christians in the national debate. Rest assured of my continued prayers and support.
With each passing day, the roll of modern martyrs grows. While we rejoice in their ultimate victory over death through the power of Jesus’ love, we must also help our fellow Christians carry the Cross of persecution and, as much as possible, help relieve their suffering. By doing so, the Middle East and the world will be made safer for people of every faith to live in peace.