Pompeo, Pope Francis urge protections of religious freedom

Pompeo, Pope Francis urge protections of religious freedom
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Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoThe Hill's Morning Report - House prosecutes Trump as 'lawless,' 'corrupt' Overnight Defense: Trump downplays troops' concussion injuries in Iran attack | Dems offer case against Trump on day two of trial | UN links Saudis to hack of Bezos' phone Pompeo willing to testify in impeachment trial if 'legally required' MORE and Pope FrancisPope FrancisPope Francis names first woman to senior Vatican diplomatic post Benedict warns about celibacy in new book seen as warning to Francis Pope urges US, Iran to seek 'dialogue and self-restraint' MORE on Thursday discussed the need to protect religious freedoms for Christian minorities around the world and "in particular" in the Middle East, following a meeting at the Vatican. 

“They reaffirmed the United States and Holy See commitment to advancing religious freedom around the world, and in particular, protecting Christian communities in the Middle East. The Secretary and Pope Francis also discussed the continued efforts of the United States and the Holy See to promote democracy and human rights globally,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.

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The remarks come as a number of Christian communities have faced persecution in some Middle Eastern countries, forcing many members to flee to the West.

Pompeo attended a Vatican conference Wednesday focused on religious freedom at which he blasted authoritarian regimes across the world for curtailing the rights of religious minorities.

“Freedom of religion can also be threatened when an intolerant majority rules,” he said. “We must recognize the roots of religious repression. Authoritarian regimes and autocrats will never accept a power higher than their own. And that causes all sorts of assaults on human dignity." 

“On the issues most fundamental, on the issues of human dignity and religious freedom, these issues that transcend everyday politics, on the enduring struggle of the individual’s right to believe and worship, we must — and I know we will — march together,” he added of the relationship between Washington and the Vatican. 

The Trump administration has sought to promote religious liberty since President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff pleads to Senate GOP: 'Right matters. And the truth matters.' Anita Hill to Iowa crowd: 'Statute of limitations' for Biden apology is 'up' Sen. Van Hollen releases documents from GAO investigation MORE’s inauguration, with the president specifically promoting the need for protection for Christians in the Middle East.