June 6th will mark the one year anniversary of the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passing The Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief and Accountability Act, which would provide U.S. funding directly to Christians in Syria and Iraq impacted by the genocide committed by the Islamic State (ISIS). It would also ensure that evidence is collected for prosecuting the perpetrators of these crimes against humanity.
The bill, however, has languished in the U.S. Senate for almost nine months, and there are no signs that it will be voted on anytime in the near future.
The refusal of the United States Congress to act is just the latest example of leaders and citizens from around the world silently standing by as nothing is done to stop the elimination of Christians from the Middle Eastern lands they have called home since the time of the New Testament. Even the Trump administration, which had promised to make the plight of Middle East Christians a priority, has largely been missing in action since Vice President Mike Pence’s much-anticipated visit to the Middle East in January delivered few results or signs of hope.
With the United States and the West now doing virtually nothing to prevent the extinction of Middle East Christians, the situation may appear to be grim. There are, however, small flickers of hope that we must use to reignite a global effort aimed at protecting this vulnerable population.
If we choose not to foster these signs of hope and progress, Middle Eastern Christians will join the ranks of Rwanda, Bosnia, Darfur, Armenia, the Holocaust, and other preventable tragedies that unfolded as the world was watching. The Spanish-American philosopher George Santayana’s oft-cited warning that those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it is especially relevant in light of a recent survey which found that over a fifth of young Americans have not heard of or are unsure if they have heard of the Holocaust.
On July 7th, Pope Francis will gather heads of churches and Christian communities from the Middle East to join him in Bari, Italy for a day of reflection and prayer with the goal of raising awareness of their plight. Let us resolve to make July 7th also a day of gratitude, where those religious leaders can also deliver prayers of thanks in acknowledgement of the world finally taking action to ensure that future generations of Christians survive and thrive in the Middle East.
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Reported by: The Hill