November 08, 2017
President Trump's speech in South Korea was remarkable for several things, but it was his mention of religious persecution that got our attention. In a message of warning to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, the president took the opportunity on one of the world's largest stages to chastise the horrible conditions for Christians in places like China and North Korea. While the world watched, the president tackled one of the greatest human rights abuses taking place in the Asian part of the globe.
"In the part of Korea that was a stronghold for Christianity before the war, Christians and other people of faith who are found praying or holding a religious book of any kind are now detained, tortured, and, in many cases, even executed."
"North Korean women are forced to abort babies that are considered ethnically inferior. And if these babies are born, the newborns are murdered. One woman's baby born to a Chinese father was taken away in a bucket. The guard said it did not deserve to live because it was impure. So why would China feel an obligation to help North Korea?"
For many North Koreans, just the act of worship is a life-threatening proposition. Hunted down and terrorized for their faith, the underground church has lost countless members to prison camps (or worse) simply for sharing the gospel -- a freedom most of us take for granted every day. From the very beginning of his administration, Donald Trump has been intentional about his desire to pick up the torch for religious liberty, first trying to secure it for Americans here at home through executive order and other directives. But with his nomination of Sam Brownback to Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, the administration has shown its sincerity on restoring the United States' reputation as a voice for the voiceless.
As we know from our friends at Open Doors USA, North Korea is ranked as the most oppressive place in the world for Christians -- #1 on the World Watch List. So it's no small thing that President Trump included the persecuted church in his admonishment of Kim Jung Un. As Open Doors explains, the situation is so dire that Christians are forced to hide their faith even from their own spouses. "Simply owning a Bible is enough to be considered an enemy of the state, and many North Korean Christians are spending the rest of their lives malnourished, mistreated, and dying in prison." As quickly as things have deteriorated for Americans of faith under Barack Obama, the culture here is nothing like the nightmare our brothers and sisters face overseas.
When so many other priorities hang in the balance, we're extremely grateful that President Trump made a point of highlighting the plight of North Korean Christians. Now, it's time for the U.S. Senate to act on Governor Brownback's confirmation, so that Americans can start giving the world's persecuted new hope – first, that they aren't alone, and secondly, that help is on the way.
For more on North Korea, specifically the nuclear threat, don't miss FRC's Lt. General Jerry Boykin on Fox News's "Your World with Neil Cavuto."
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.