WASHINGTON — Some say that Christendom is facing more persecution right now than at any other time in modern history.
More than 200 million Christians in some 50 nations are facing high, very high or even extreme persecution. Just about every month more than 300 are killed for their faith.
Often believers facing such danger and living under such threat feel isolated and alone. That's why evangelist Franklin Graham and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association called for the World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians this week in Washington, D.C.'s Mayflower Hotel.
They want those endangered and embattled believers to know the Church stands in solidarity with them and that it's working on solutions to fight that persecution.
'The Terrorists Will Not Stop Until We Stop Them'
The presence of U.S. Vice President Mike Pence at the summit Thursday showed the attacks are getting attention at the highest levels.
"He's made it clear that America will stand by followers of Christ in this hour of need," Pence said of President Donald Trump. "Our administration is fully committed in bringing relief and comfort to believers, not only across the Middle East but across the world."
Then he added, "This president knows the terrorists will not stop until we stop them. And under President Donald Trump, we will stop them."
People from 130 nations gathered at the summit, some of them facing danger themselves back in their home countries.
That's why media working this gathering had to accept strict limits on what they could shoot and record. Video or photos of some attendees could put them in even more danger if those images fell into the wrong hands.
Threats from Discrimination to Death
Behind closed doors and off-camera, though, they testified of believers in their countries facing threats, unemployment, discrimination, imprisonment, torture or even death.
Pence spoke of these people, stating, "How deeply humbling it is for me to stand today before the courageous men and women who are with us, who have stood without apology for their faith in Christ and suffered persecution across the wider world."
But Graham told CBN News that even believers here in the U.S. are also starting to face discrimination, such as attacks by homosexuals or their allies on Christian businesses that won't service or supply gay weddings.
"We've seen businesses put out of business, attacked, targeted," Graham said. "And then the gay activists come in and liberal judges in those states support these decisions. And we see businesses now afraid and Christians who are afraid that they'll be attacked."
Defeating the Enemies of the Cross
In his speech, the vice president assured those facing persecution and discrimination the U.S. won't forget them.
"So know those of you that stare persecution in the face every day in distant lands, you have the prayers of the American people, prayers of my family, and you have the prayers of the president of the United States," Pence said.
Graham said he's been pleased by the many promises the president has made to the faith community on subjects like religious liberty.
"I appreciate that President Trump has kept his word," Graham told CBN News. "And he's going to do that – not just on religious liberty, but I think he's going to do this on fighting ISIS and defeating the enemies of the Cross."