Aid Efforts for Christian Genocide supported by U.S. House of Representatives- June 6th

Social Justice Corner by Erin Lynch

As reported by Catholic News Service, The House unanimously approved the bipartisan Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief and Accountability Act, or H.R. 390, in a voice vote. This bipartisan effort is in response to the “atrocities being committed against Christians and other religious and ethnic minorities in the Middle East, especially in Iraq and Syria,” as stated in a letter from Bishop Oscar Cantu, the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ international policy committee on June 9.

This development is crucial for several reasons. It has been rare in U.S. history for the government to declare genocide, and the acknowledgement lends weight to both future policy and aid efforts. Also, the legislation allows for assistance from the U.S. government to the faithbased organizations, like Catholic Relief Services, in providing the humanitarian assistance they already provide but on a larger and more effective scale. 

Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, the CEO of the Knights of Columbus, has worked with Smith to get support of the bill and has testified on behalf of the measure. “We must have the courage to confront reality and then we must have the courage to change reality,” Anderson said. The Knights of Columbus have donated over $12 million to groups in the Middle East aiding Christian refugees. In addition, they recently began an ad campaign in an effort to raise more funds. The pressure on the Senate to support the bill is coming from many sides, with an urgency that it be voted on quickly. Please consider contacting your senators and urging their support for H.R. 390! And continue to pray for those persecuted daily in the Middle East.

Kathryn Richards