Christian groups called on the presidential campaigns of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton to set up plans of action regarding the persecution of Christians worldwide.
The coalition of Christian organizations and individuals was gathered by Open Doors USA and the Institute for Global Engagement to initiate a “non-partisan conversation” with the presidential campaigns in an effort to make them take global persecution of Christians and other faiths more seriously.
“The conversations were wide-ranging, and we were encouraged that both campaigns seem to be in broad support of strengthening international religious freedom,” the coalition said in a statement. “We found both campaigns to be taking this issue—and our recommendations—seriously.”
One recommendation presented by the coalition to the presidential campaigns is to appoint persons as Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom and as Special Envoy for Religion and Global Affairs. These appointments should be done within the next president’s first 100 days in office, the coalition said.
Open Doors USA president David Curry told One News Now that the issue of Christian persecution lies at the center of all issues surrounding foreign policy agenda, and the candidates should realize that it is a priority.
"The persecution of Christians is a canary in the coal mine for what's happening around the world," Curry said. “The persecution of Christians is the forerunner to areas and countries tipping into chaos—and there are going to be bigger national security problems [as a result]."
He said he felt optimistic about the dialogue, although he admitted it was accepted with “mixed results.”
"The discussions were off the record, but there were significant issues of difference," Curry said. "We felt like we had some real points of agreement with the campaigns."
Curry also said he felt that the presidential campaigns have heard the coalition's voice and are starting to grasp the significance of Christian persecution.
"Both of them are beginning to understand what importance the persecution of Christians has to many people in this country," Curry said.
Aside from Open Doors USA and the Institute for Global Engagement, the coalition included representatives from the Center for Islam and Religious Freedom, the Religious Freedom Institute, the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy and the Wesleyan Church.
In August, Open Doors USA launched a petition urging Christians to let their concerns on religious freedom and persecution be heard by the presidential candidates.
“At Open Doors, we believe that the next president of the United States should be equipped with a plan of action to address the onslaught of unprecedented persecution. Yet we’ve heard… nothing. What needs to change? What do you wish to hear from the presidential candidates on persecution?” the petition read.