WHEREAS, Christians are the group most targeted for persecution around the world according to the Pew Research Center, and have been targeted by non-state actors as well as the policies and actions of those nations classified by the U.S. Department of State as “countries of particular concern;” and
WHEREAS, Pope Francis has urged government leaders, non-governmental organizations, and people of goodwill to respond to the persecution of Christians; and
WHEREAS, persecution of Christians in Africa continues unabated, especially in Nigeria where the terrorist organization Boko Haram, the West African branch of ISIS, and other anti-Christian entities have murdered more than 52,000 Christians since 2010 and, over the past two years, been responsible for 7 in 10 of faith-based murders of Christians worldwide; and
WHEREAS, religious persecution in East Asia is enabled by dictatorial regimes that reject the tenets of religious freedom and enact laws that ban religion, decree certain practices illegal, or subvert religious observances in favor of fealty to the state; and
WHEREAS, the Knights of Columbus dedicated its 18th Marian Prayer Program to Our Lady, Help of Persecuted Christians, and encouraged all Knights of Columbus families to pray that the Blessed Mother intercede on behalf of all those persecuted for their faith in her divine Son.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Knights of Columbus stands in solidarity with all Christians around the world who are suffering from violent persecution, and we call on all Christians and people of good will to do the same; and
FURTHER RESOLVED, that we commend those nations providing support to religious minorities seeking to rebuild their lives after persecution and call on all governments to follow suit; and
FURTHER RESOLVED, that we commend the recent Executive Order directing necessary funding to programs that support those persecuted for their faith and empowering the United State Foreign Service to properly address violations of religious freedom throughout the world; and
FURTHER RESOLVED, that we call on the Government of the United States to continue an aggressive pursuit of religious liberty abroad through its engagement with international organizations and by the authority granted to it by the International Religious Freedom Act and other applicable statutes; and
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Knights of Columbus pledges to continue providing assistance to those who are victims of atrocities, especially those Christians who have faced violent persecution because of their faith.