K of C Applauds House Foreign Affairs Committee for Unanimous Action on Genocide
The Knights of Columbus welcomed the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s unanimous passage of a resolution expressing Congress’ judgment that the Islamic State's targeting of Christians, Yazidis, Turkmen, Kurds and other ethnic minorities constitutes "genocide."
Supreme Knight Carl Anderson said: “The House Foreign Affairs Committee has taken a courageous and historic step in giving meaning to the words ‘never again.’ We applaud the unanimous, bipartisan passage of H. Con. Res. 75 by the House Foreign Affairs Committee. We now look forward to passage by the full House of Representatives, which has the opportunity to be on the right side of history in a bipartisan manner, joining its voice to those of the European Parliament, Pope Francis, the United States Commission for International Religious Freedom and prominent genocide scholars worldwide.”
He continued: “The bipartisan support of 200-plus cosponsors for naming as genocide the acts being perpetrated by ISIS against Christians, Yazidis and other religious minorities again shows how compelling and clear the evidence is. We hope that the State Department too will do the right thing and reach the same conclusion in the days ahead, in keeping with Secretary Kerry's statement in 2014 that the situation confronting Christians and Yazidis had ‘all the hallmarks of genocide.’”
The Knights of Columbus and In Defense of Christians (IDC) is also currently sponsoring an online petition www.StopTheChristianGenocide.org urging Secretary of State John Kerry not to exclude Christians from a declaration of genocide at the hands of ISIS.
Launched Feb. 25, the petition is being promoted with a new nationwide TV ad citing Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, all of whom called what is happening to Christians in the Middle East at the hands of ISIS “genocide.” In a 2015 K of C-Marist poll, 55 percent of Americans agreed that the treatment of Christians and other minority groups constitutes genocide.
The State Department is required by law to make a designation one way or the other on the matter by mid-March.
Signers of the petition “implore” Secretary Kerry “to speak up on behalf of these brutalized minority populations.” They conclude by urging him “to declare that Christians, along with Yazidis and other vulnerable minorities, are targets of ongoing genocide,” arguing that such a declaration meets the criteria established by the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
The petition has so far garnered almost 45,000 signatures, including those of Gov. John Kasich of Ohio; Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York; U.S. Bishops Conference President Archbishop Joseph Kurtz; Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals; Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan, Prelate, Armenian Apostolic Church of America (Eastern Prelacy); historian Philip Jenkins; human rights experts and activists; and Hollywood producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey.