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A majority of Americans believe the next U.S. president should address this issue - and it endangers thousands of Christians across the globe

Posted July 28

The majority of Americans believe the next U.S. president should show a commitment to addressing Christian persecution across the globe, according to a poll commissioned by Open Doors USA.

The survey, conducted by the Harris Poll, found that 76 percent of Americans agreed with the following statement: "It is important to me that the next U.S. President be committed to addressing the persecution that some Christians face around the world (eg., imprisonment, beheadings, rape, loss of home and assets)."

In addition to releasing that stunning statistic, Open Doors USA — an organization that monitors and documents Christian persecution — unveiled petitions to presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

"We haven’t heard much about the tragic reality of religious persecution from the presidential candidates," reads a description of the petitions. "And I think we need to be hearing something."

The document goes on to cite the horrors faced by Christians in many nations across the world, and cites the responsibility of the faithful to speak out about such occurrences.

But the newfound Open Doors USA campaign doesn't just encourage rhetoric; it also asks the candidates to lay out a plan of action to address the issue.

"We want to hear from the presidential candidates on how they will respond to ever-increasing religious persecution, and how they will personally work to strengthen religious freedom in our world today," the description continues.

Supporters are invited to sign a letter to both candidates that offers up some sobering statistics about religious persecution, while calling for Clinton and Trump to release their plans of action.

In the past, Clinton and Trump have, in fact, addressed the issues impacting Christians and other faith groups across the globe.

Before announcing his run for the presidency, Trump cited the persecution issue and promised Christians that, if elected, he would be the “greatest representative of the Christians they’ve had in a long time.”

Clinton, too, was willing to say earlier than the U.S. government that the Islamic State's assault on religious groups constituted "genocide."

"We now have enough evidence," she told a New Hampshire crowd in December 2015, months before the U.S. government officially said the same.

Open Doors USA estimates that 7,000 Christians died for their faith last year. The organization, which annually ranks the worst countries to be a Christian, also estimates that between 50,000-70,000 Bible-believers in North Korea are confined in concentration camps.

Additional estimates claim that 214 churches and Christian properties are destroyed each month across the globe, with 772 forms of violence being committed against the faithful during the same period.

Open Doors USA president and CEO David Curry said the petition comes as Christians and members of other faiths are increasingly falling prey to persecution.

"Governments are clamping down on religious freedom of expression, causing millions to face displacement, harassment, imprisonment, beatings and even death," Curry said in a statement. "Americans are looking to each presidential candidate for clear and decisive plans to address this growing global crisis."

Each year, Open Doors USA releases its "World Watch List," detailing, by rank, which countries it believes to be the worst persecutors of Christians.

The five worst nations on the 2016 list were (from most brutal to least): North Korea, Iraq, Emitrea, Afghanistan and Syria.

Email: bhallowell@deseretnews.com Twitter: billyhallowell Facebook: facebook.com/billyhallowell

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