As Katie wrote this morning, the House of Representatives did not even blink on Monday when voting on Rep. Jeff Fortenberry's (R-NE) legislation to label ISIS' planned extermination of Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East genocide. In a vote of 393 to 0, our representatives made the decision unanimously. If only it were so simple in the White House.
For months, our activists and legislators have been urging the Obama administration to recognize the abject slaughter of Christians overseas. At the very least, they argue, give it the right label. At a press conference in the nation's capital last week, experts on terrorism explained why genocide is the perfect term to describe what's happening to Christians in the Middle East. Plenty of evidence exists of ISIS' barbaric treatment of anyone who doesn't follow their tenets. Property confiscation, rape and murder, to name just a few. The Knights of Columbus sent Secretary of State John Kerry a detailed 280-page report that included all the barbaric details.
Carl Anderson, CEO of Knights of Columbus, welcomes Monday's news, yet still has a question for the State Department should it fail to recognize the vote:
Will it undermine the global and national consensus on this issue, signaling to terrorists that we don't take their crimes as seriously as the rest of the world does?
Fortenberry hopes the White House will do the right thing.
"It is my sincere hope that this trans-partisan resolution will further compel the State Department to join the building international consensus in calling the horrific ISIS violence against Christians, Yezidis, and others by its proper name: 'genocide.'”
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy also addressed Congress after Monday's vote and insisted that the White House has no legitimate reason to ignore what's happening in the Middle East. This is not some distant issue, he argued. Terrorists are targeting the very same faith shared by many in Washington.
"Evil does exist. But ignoring it or refusing to call it by its name does not make it go away.
“ISIL is murdering Christians. They are targeting people who share my faith—the faith of many people in this House—people who believe in Jesus Christ. And because of that belief, they are being marked for execution. ISIL is murdering and enslaving religious and ethnic minorities everywhere they gain power, and we know it."
It's time to act, McCarthy continued.
“The world cannot look away. The Obama Administration can’t dance around the question.
"Today, the House stands firmly to proclaim to the world that genocide is happening, that evil is real, and that it must be stopped. And we urge the Administration to join us."
Kerry and the State Department will decide whether or not to comply with the resolution by this Thursday.