Vice President Mike Pence told a gathering of Christian leaders in Washington, D.C., on Thursday that Christians are the most persecuted religious group across the globe.
Speaking at the first World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians — which was organized by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association — Pence said, "The Bible tells us: ‘All who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.' "
Pence said that Christians are "emblematic of millions across the world" who have been able to persevere "through the crucible of persecution."
“You refused to be conformed to this world,” he continued. "You have chosen instead to be counted with those outside the city gate for your faith. And by your life, you bear witness to the truth that brings us together here at this summit."
Pence said that “Christian faith is under siege” and that “no people of faith today face greater hostility and hatred than followers of Christ.”
Referencing President Donald Trump, Pence said, "He's made it clear that America will stand by followers of Christ in this hour of need. Our administration is fully committed to bringing relief and comfort to believers not only across the Middle East but across the world."
Pence pointed out the biggest perpetrators of Christian persecution and called them by name: "Radical Islamic terrorists."
“The president knows that terrorists will not stop unless we stop them. Under President Donald Trump, we will stop them,” Pence said. “We will not rest. We will not relent until we hunt down and destroy ISIS at its source. … Because of the actions of President Donald Trump, ISIS is already on the run.”
During the Rev. Franklin Graham's introduction of Pence, he said, "What I appreciate so much about our vice president is his strong faith in God and his belief in Jesus Christ as the son of God. As a nation, we are very fortunate to have a president that believes in God and a vice president who strongly supports all of us in the church and is not afraid to express his faith."
A survey completed in April by the Pew Research Center indicated that Jews and Muslims were the most persecuted religions in the world — specifically in Europe — and suffered the most hostilities as a result.
In April, however, Washington Times guest columnist Vernon Brewer — founder and president of World Help, a Christian humanitarian organization — reported that Christian persecution was on the rise in Middle Eastern countries, and that a report dated January 2016 noted that it was the "worst year yet" for Christians over the last 25 years.
Brewer, via the Times, said that violence against Christians in Middle Eastern countries had been on the rise for three straight years and noted that in Nigeria, attacks on Christians had risen 62 percent in the three-year period.
Brewer's analysis also reported that 215 million Christians live in areas where they are harassed and sometimes even brutalized for their faith. Pence's comments seemed to reflect the analysis done by Brewer, as he reported that "Christians are now killed in more countries than ever before and are persecuted in more countries than any other religious group."
On Friday, Brewer issued a plea on Fox News to help Christians being persecuted in communist North Korea, noting that even possessing a Bible in the country can result in being sentenced to a labor camp.
Brewer said after a visit to North Korea that "a whole narrative of persecution against Christians goes largely unreported in the media."
See some of the negative reactions to Pence's impassioned speech below.
@mike_pence COWARD. LIAR. FAKE CHRISTIAN YOU AND TRUMP NEED TO RESIGN. DIRTY WHITE HOUSE
— Kathy King (@kathyaking) May 15, 2017
Mike Pence is the kind of Christian who would take the Handmaids Tale as a blueprint
— Pamela Brockman (@PamelafBrockman) May 15, 2017
Dear Mr .@mike_pence as a Christian I can fully attest that I have never ONCE been persecuted for my religion, you're completely full of it.
— Ann Malone (@ammboston) May 13, 2017
— Justin Kahn (@TheJustinKahn) May 13, 2017
— Doc CB (@cbeidson) May 12, 2017
— Outraged Citizen (@realtime98) May 11, 2017
Mike Pence fancies himself a big Christian, an important Christian. How does he square that with being a liar for a bigger liar?
— Joe d'Aragman (@JAragman) May 11, 2017
Wow, Mike Pence, Christianity is the most persecuted religion huh? Musta learned your history from Sean Spicer
— Ron Placone (@RonPlacone) May 12, 2017
— Dave Nash (@davenash782) May 15, 2017
@GOP Mike Pence is a Christian in name only. His actions speak the opposite of the teachings of Jesus Christ. More like Judas than Jesus
— Jim Lebuhn (@dangerousGOP) May 14, 2017
— Tom Simon (@tomsimon12345) May 13, 2017
See Pence's full speech in the video below.