NEW HAVEN, Conn., July 25, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new commercial airing nationally during both parties' conventions picks up on a theme considered in both party's platforms: the plight of Christians suffering genocide in the Middle East. It seeks the public's help in supporting them, since U.S. government and United Nations money often do not reach these victims.
The commercial is sponsored by the Knights of Columbus and can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3o_wsjk4Vwo . The spot highlights the genocide against Christians by ISIS, an issue that has created a rare bipartisan consensus in a year that has seen often sharp political divisions.
The U.S. State Department declared this year that Christians and other religious minorities faced genocide at the hands of ISIS. Both houses of Congress unanimously said the same.
Both the GOP platform and the draft Democrat platform express concern over the plight of Christians and other religious minorities facing genocide.
The draft Democratic platform, which will be considered this week, states: "We are horrified by ISIS' genocide of Christians and Yezidis and crimes against humanity against Muslims and others in the Middle East. We will do everything we can to protect religious minorities and the fundamental right of freedom to worship and believe."
The GOP platform adopted last week states: "We are deeply concerned that, in the face of genocide against them, Christian communities in cities like Erbil are receiving no financial support from either the U.S. government or the UN to help with displaced persons and urban refugees. Their survival is sustained only by private charities."
"This must change immediately," says the Republican platform. "Defeating ISIS means more than pushing back its fighters while abandoning its victims. It must mean aiding those who have suffered the most — and doing so before they starve. It means supporting the long-term survival of indigenous religious and ethnic communities, punishing the perpetrators of crimes against humanity, and conditioning humanitarian and military assistance to governments on their observable commitment to human rights."
Despite the consensus that genocide is occurring, bishops in both Iraq and Syria have stated that they get no U.S. or U.N. financial assistance, and are totally dependent on donations from the public and private foundations. The commercial recognizes this, and asks the public to assist by donating to the Knights of Columbus Christian Refugee Fund at www.ChristiansAtRisk.org .
"The bi-partisan concern about this ongoing genocide is a hopeful sign in a political culture that is often too divided on important issues to solve them," said Knights of Columbus CEO Carl Anderson. "We hope that soon our government, other governments and the U.N. will all direct financial resources specifically to help these genocide victims and survivors, whose communities risk extinction."
This year, Anderson has given Congressional testimony and has spoken at the U.N. on the need for the government and international community to support Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East in several ways from providing financial support, to helping secure equal rights for Christians and other religious minorities, to ensuring their long-term survival in a region that has seen their numbers dwindle by as much as 90 percent in Iraq alone.
The K of C has raised more than $11 million to assist Christian refugees since 2014 – focusing especially on the Middle East. Anderson noted that "especially given that many get no government or U.N. funding, it is imperative that people help financially support a future in the Middle East that respects rights, includes fragile indigenous minority communities, and preserves the pluralism and witness to forgiveness that these people bring."
Further information is available at www.ChristiansAtRisk.org
SOURCE Knights of Columbus