During his trip to the Vatican where he met with Pope Francis, Vice President Joe Biden addressed the persecution of Christians and other religious minority groups in the Middle East.
Yet the official White House readout did not mention the word “genocide,” which until last month the Obama administration had refused to include in its lexicon to describe the atrocities committed by ISIS.
Secretary of State John Kerry made the genocide determination in March only after Congress slipped a provision into a law signed by Pres. Obama that imposed a deadline for the administration to say if Islamic State was committing genocide.
Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Illinois, is among the many lawmakers who supported the move. More than a month after the formal declaration; however, he says more needs to be done.
“It’s an important first step,” he told CBN News. “It doesn’t solve the problem, but it does at least raise some of the level of understanding and recognition on the world stage of what’s really going on there.”
CBN News has reported extensively on the plight of Christians and other religious minorities who have suffered at the hands of ISIS.
This week, CBN’s Chuck Holton filed a report from the northern Iraqi city of Sinjar to show how Christian groups are helping Yazidis.
While far from defeat, ISIS recently has been dealt a few setbacks, including a loss of revenue and territory in both Iraq and Syria.
The reversal of fortunes has some, including Rep. Hultgren, asking what will happen to the Christians and Yazidis who’ve been displaced.
“My hope is that they’ll have the ability to [go] back,” Hultgren explained. “My question is will they want to with so much damage being done?”
In a region described as the “Cradle of Christianity,” few Christian believers actually remain after being killed or forced to flee their ancient homeland.
“We’ve seen in the last hundred plus years a significant reduction throughout much of this area: 20% or more of the population was Christian,” Hultgren explained. “Now, it’s less than 1% and shrinking every single day.”
In an effort to advance the cause, the American Center for Law and Justice recently sent a letter to the U.N. Secretary General calling on him to recognize the genocide against Christians and to take “decisive” action