In language stronger than we’ve heard from the U.S. State Department, Vice President Mike Pence said Thursday that the Islamic State terrorist group has committed atrocities – up to and including genocide – against Christians living in the Middle East. Speaking at a summit on Christian persecution put on by the Billy Graham Evangelical Association, the former Indiana governor said it was time for the world to wake up to what was really going on in Egypt and elsewhere.
“Practitioners of terror harbor a special hatred for the followers of Christ and none more so than the barbarians known as ISIS,” Pence said. “That brutal regime shows a savagery frankly unseen in the Middle East since the Middle Ages, and I believe ISIS is guilty of nothing short of genocide against people of the Christian faith, and it is time the world called it by name.
“The reality is across the wide world, the Christian faith is under siege,” he continued. “Throughout the world, no people of faith today face greater hostility or hatred than followers of Christ.”
Pence noted that Islamic terrorists often capitalize on Christian holidays to spread their message of violence and bloodshed.
“The Christian communities where the message of our Lord was first uttered and embraced today though, are often the targets of unspeakable atrocity,” Pence said. “In Egypt just recently, we saw bombs explode in churches in the very midst of the celebration at Palm Sunday. A day of hope was transformed into tragedy.
“In Iraq, at the hands of extremists, we’ve actually seen monasteries demolished, priests and monks beheaded, and the two millennia-old Christian tradition in Mosul virtually extinguished over night,” he said. “In Syria, we see ancient communities burned to the ground. We see believers tortured for confessing Christ and women and children sold into the most terrible form of human slavery.”
Pence said that after the previous administration’s blatant unwillingness to acknowledge either the true perpetrators nor the true victims of terrorism, President Trump was turning the page.
“Donald Trump sees these crimes for what they are: vile acts of persecution animated by hatred, hatred for the gospel of Christ,” said Pence. “And so too does the president know those who perpetrate these crimes. They are the embodiment of evil in our times, and he calls them by name – radical Islamic terrorists.”
To Christians, conservatives, and, really, anyone who has a proper understanding of what’s happening in the world, these words could not be more refreshing. If they are followed by the required action, the time for ISIS and their ilk to thrive and spread could be coming to an end.