Today, as Christians remember the torturous crucifixion of Jesus Christ at the hands of the Roman empire, we should also be mindful of the many around the world persecuted for their Christian faith.
Tragically, 245 million Christians — one out of every nine Christians globally — live in countries where Christians face persecution, usually at the hands of governments. Last year, an average of eleven Christians were killed daily for their faith in the fifty countries on Open Doors USA’s World Watch List for high levels of persecution for Christians.
As someone who grew up in Belfast in the ’60s and early ’70s, violence motivated by religion is something I am all too familiar with. And it’s one of the reasons why, as CEO of World Relief, I advocate for the persecuted on a daily basis.
Last year, the Trump Administration held the first Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, which convened a broad range of stakeholders, including foreign ministers, international organization representatives and religious leaders, to identify concrete ways to combat religious persecution. Secretary of State Pompeo, who hosted the event, called the protection and promotion of international religious freedom “a top foreign policy priority.”
It’s inexplicable, then, that the State Department’s Refugee Resettlement Program has all but shut the door on persecuted Christians and other religious minorities from several of the countries where they face the most severe restrictions on religious freedom.
Last year, the administration set the refugee ceiling for FY 2019 for an all-time low of only 30,000 refugees. This is less than half the cap of 70,000 set by President George W. Bush following the September 11 attacks. And it is significantly less than the admission rate under President George H.W. Bush, who set the ceiling between 125,000 and 142,000 each year of his administration.
The cuts come at a time when the number of refugees around the world is at an all-time high of 25.4 million.
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SOURCE: USA Today, Tim Breene