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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 PompeoBiden faces challenges, opportunities in Middle East O'Brien on 2024 talk: 'There's all kinds of speculation out there' Israeli military instructed to prepare for Trump strike on Iran: report MORE and Pope FrancisPope FrancisPope Francis swipes at groups protesting COVID-19 restrictions in NYT op-ed China dismisses pope's comments about 'persecuted' Uighurs Pope Francis supports NBA players' work to promote social justice 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 TrumpBiden adds to vote margin over Trump after Milwaukee County recount Krebs says allegations of foreign interference in 2020 election 'farcical'  Republicans ready to become deficit hawks again under a President Biden MORE’s inauguration, with the president specifically promoting the need for protection for Christians in the Middle East.