February 06, 2019
Steps from where the president delivered his State of the Union address last night, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom hosted a reception this morning on Capitol Hill in honor of Pastor Andrew Brunson and his wife, Norine. It was an opportunity for many of the U.S. senators, representatives, and their staffs -- on both sides of the aisle -- who had worked toward Andrew's release to hear directly from the Brunsons and share in the joy that they are home.
I shared about my experience of accompanying them home from Turkey last October, and -- in their hallmark humility -- Andrew and Norine expressed their desire to see other American citizens freed, who remain unjustly held by the Turkish government. In my remarks, I pointed to the power and remarkable good that can come through a genuine bipartisan effort. We can all agree that religious freedom -- the freedom to believe, or not believe --is not only an American right, but also a universal human right.
While I was on the Hill, I had the privilege of sharing a devotion and opening prayer at the Republican Study Committee, chaired by my fellow Louisianan, Congressman Mike Johnson (R-La.). With the president's challenge in his State of the Union Address to choose greatness as the backdrop, I read Jesus's parable in Matthew 13 about the wheat and the tares. No question challenges we face as a nation have multiplied; evil seems to lurk on every side. But, in the midst of this, we have unparalleled opportunities. Evil is lurking, but good is on the march! Bottom line, Jesus encouraged His disciples to be aware of the evil, but to focus on advancing the good.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.