Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoState Department watchdog probing whether Trump aides took gifts meant for foreign officials Biden shows little progress with Abraham Accords on first anniversary Biden slips further back to failed China policies MORE and Pope FrancisPope FrancisBiden to have audience with pope, attend G20 summit Archbishop says Catholic troops should be able to reject vaccines on religious grounds The truth about COVID-19 vaccine exemptions 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.
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 TrumpMcCabe wins back full FBI pension after being fired under Trump Biden's Supreme Court reform study panel notes 'considerable' risks to court expansion Bennie Thompson not ruling out subpoenaing Trump MORE’s inauguration, with the president specifically promoting the need for protection for Christians in the Middle East.