Christian Leaders Pledge to Assist Persecuted Religious Minorities in Middle East - His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan speaks - Video
Washington, D.C. (May 7, 2014) -- Prominent Christian leaders from across ecumenical lines joined together on Capitol Hill to pledge to do more to help religious communities who are being persecuted in Egypt, Iraq and Syria.
Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the Catholic Archbishop of Washington, Dr. Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, and Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America, were among the speakers a press conference announcing the release the "Pledge of Solidarity & Call to Action" that has been signed by more than 175 religious leaders from across the country.
The pledge, in part, says: "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."
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 the press conference. The other speakers were:
Dr. Barrett Duke, Vice President for Public Policy and Research, The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention
Dr. Jerry Johnson, president and CEO, National Religious Broadcasters
Jim Liske, president and CEO, Prison Fellowship Ministries
George J. Marlin, chairman of the Board, Aid to the Church in Need-USA
His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios of Boston, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
Johnnie Moore, senior vice president, Liberty University
Dr. Elizabeth H. Prodromou, professor of Conflict Resolution, Bedford, MA
Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako of Baghdad (Statement will be read by Joseph Kassab, founder and president, Iraqi Christians Advocacy and Empowerment Institute)
Nina Shea, director and senior scholar, Hudson Institute Center for Religious Freedom
Rev. Canon Dr. Andrew White, chaplain, St George Anglican Church, Baghdad
"I regularly meet with beleaguered Christians from this part of the world," Wolf said at the press conference. "Their stories are eerily similar: believers kidnapped for ransom; churches -- some full of worshippers -- attacked; clergy targeted for killing. In the face of this violence, Christians are leaving in droves.
"The resounding theme that emerges is quite simply a plea for solidarity, and an appeal for help," Wolf continued. "Where is the West they wonder? Today, I am heartened to say, that these cries have been heard. We are gathered to release a Pledge of Solidarity and Call to Action on Behalf of Christians and Other Small Religious Communities in Egypt, Iraq and Syria."
Watch the video