In Solidarity with Persecuted Christians
WHEREAS, Christians are the group most targeted for persecution around the world according to the Pew Research Center, and have been the target of a genocide by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS); and
WHEREAS, Pope Francis has urged the international community to respond to this immense humanitarian tragedy; and,
WHEREAS, the Holy Father has expressed his appreciation to the Knights of Columbus for our support of those “brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the world suffering from…violent persecution” through our Christian Refugee Relief Fund, which has now raised more than $20 million; and,
WHEREAS, the Knights of Columbus developed the nearly 300-page report detailing the genocide being waged against Christians and other minorities, and undertook massive publicity, advertising and advocacy efforts which led to the U.S. Secretary of State’s official declaration of genocide in March 2016; and
WHEREAS, the Order’s advocacy and report was not only decisive in securing this declaration of genocide, but also in securing the unanimous passage of two bi-partisan resolutions, H. Con. Res. 75 and S. Con Res. 33, both expressing the 114th U.S. Congress’ belief that a genocide was occurring and that the international community must respond; and
WHEREAS, advocacy, research, and technical assistance from the Knights of Columbus has been instrumental in changing U.S. policy to help end what was tantamount to de facto discrimination against the most vulnerable victims of ISIS; and
WHEREAS, Congressional testimony by the Supreme Knight laid the blueprint for the introduction of H.R. 390, the Iraq and Syria Refugee Relief and Accountability Act of 2017, bi-partisan legislation sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) that would ensure the U.S. Government take the necessary steps to aid these targeted communities and bring the perpetrators of this genocide to justice.
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 the Knights of Columbus dedicates its 18th Marian Prayer Program to Our Lady, Help of Persecuted Christians, and encourages 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; and
FURTHER RESOLVED, that we commend those nations providing support to religious minorities seeking to rebuild their lives after persecution by ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and call on all governments and legislative bodies around the world to recognize this genocide against Christians and other religious minorities and to assist these persecuted communities; and
FURTHER RESOLVED, that we commend the Government of the United States for its changes in policy designed to assist these vulnerable communities and for its promise of assistance to them, and call on it to direct the designated funding to these communities with all possible speed; and
FURTHER RESOLVED, that we call on the Government of the United States to take quickly the following three steps: (1) continue to demand the United Nations assist the communities that have suffered genocide by including them in humanitarian and reconstruction aid; (2) demand the appropriate international body prosecute those guilty of genocide in Iraq and Syria; and (3) continue to work with the international community to defeat the Islamic State and similar terrorist groups; and
FURTHER RESOLVED, that we call on the United States Senate to quickly pass H.R. 390 and for the President to sign it into law; and
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Knights of Columbus pledges to continue to provide assistance to those who are victims of atrocities, especially those Christians who have faced violent persecution because of their faith.