Meadows: Religious liberty a high priority for Trump administration

Tuesday, October 16, 2018
 | 
Bill Bumpas, Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

Pastor Andrew Brunson releasedA U.S. congressman who was part of the effort to bring Pastor Andrew Brunson home recalls the "powerful moment" he witnessed as the pastor prayed over the President of the United States.

The televised meeting on Saturday between Brunson and President Donald Trump continues to have people talking. "What a day of celebration to know that not only Pastor Brunson is back home, but our God still reigns over the affairs of nations," said Congressman Mark Meadows (R-North Carolina). "It is a great day of rejoicing."

Meadows, who made his comments Monday on "Washington Watch with Tony Perkins," went on to say that it was a powerful moment to see a man of God – who not only had been in prison but also possibly would not be coming home – now free.

Andrew Brunson praying over Trump"At times, it looked very, very bleak [for Brunson]," said Meadows, who was among the lawmakers and administration officials in the Oval Office on Saturday. "The president deserves just unbelievable gratitude not just from Republicans or Democrats or unaffiliated, but from those who believe in religious liberty. And it was a powerful moment as the president was prayed for by Pastor Brunson."

(See C-SPAN report; prayer begins at 7:30 into the video)

Meadows added that the entire Trump administration made him feel that there was no higher priority than getting Brunson home. "I had the opportunity to not only talk to the pastor and his wife, but to his children," he continued. "They were so unbelievably grateful ... and it lets us know that Americans will not be left behind."

Meadows was also moved by the "Christ-like love" Brunson obviously has for the Turkish people. "He said that in the Oval Office," the congressman emphasized, "and that's saying something after being imprisoned against your will."

Brunson was accused of espionage and terrorism. On Friday he was found guilty in a Turkish court of terrorism, but released on time served. He had been held in prison and under house arrest by the Turkish government for two years.

Brunson's back ... but don't stop now!

The successful return of the American pastor to the U.S. after being imprisoned in Turkey for his faith is inspiring hopes that more persecuted Christians will be freed from captivity.

Faith McDonnell is director of religious liberty programs at The Institute on Religion & Democracy as well as a founding member of Save the Persecuted Christians. McDonnell says she's grateful for the work by the Trump administration to gain Brunson's freedom – and she's hopeful it could lead to relief for other oppressed believers.

McDonnell, Faith (IRD)"... I would love to see this kind of effort go on for other Christians who are being persecuted and imprisoned, whether they're American citizens or not – particularly Leah Sharibu right now," says the IRD spokeswoman.

Sharibu is the Christian teenage girl being held captive by Boko Haram. McDonnell tells OneNewsNow that Pastor Brunson's positive outcome should motivate the Trump administration to move forward in helping other persecuted Christians.

"But it's going to take continued encouragement from American Christians," she explains. "They need to care as much about a little girl in Nigeria as they do about an American pastor – so Americans need to continue to step up to the plate and be advocates for persecuted brothers and sisters around the world."

If that happens, McDonnell is convinced the Trump White House will continue to take positive steps towards helping more persecuted Christians.

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