The chairman of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom has urged US policymakers to lift religious freedom out of being a “second or third-class concern”.

Asked by Aleteia if he thought the US administration didn’t care enough about persecution of Christians in the Middle East, new chair Robert George said “I believe that our government does care …[but] I’d like to see religious freedom and the need to come to the aid of persecuted people and prisoners of conscience be elevated to a higher status in the minds of our policy makers”.

George cited Pew Research, which says 74 per cent of the world’s population is living under regimes that violate or turn a blind eye to religious persecution or violation of religious rights. “Even in European nations” problems exist, he says. In the interview he mentioned rising anti-Semitism, aggressive secularism as well as the “horrible violations” in the Middle East.