(Washington, D.C.) — This weekend I had the honor to address the Values Voter Summit here in the nation’s capital, attended by thousands of Evangelical Christian leaders and grassroots activists.
It was a joy to meet with and spend time discussing the trend lines in the Middle East with many dear friends, including Vice President Mike Pence, Family Research Council Chairman Tony Perkins, U.S. Ambassador for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback whom I’ve known for a quarter of a century, and former Congressman Frank Wolf. Rep. Wolf is a genuine hero of mine and he was honored at a special gala dinner for his three decades of work fighting for religious liberty and against the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities.
As the closing speaker of the afternoon session, I was asked to share my observations as an Evangelical follower of Jesus living in Jerusalem of the latest trend lines and key leaders in the Mideast, including:
- Egyptian President el-Sisi and Jordan’s King Abdullah II and the Delegation of Evangelical leaders I took to Cairo and Amman last November.
- The new Saudi Crown Prince and the important reforms he is pursuing.
- The leaders of the United Arab Emirates, one of the least discussed but most interesting American allies in the region.
- And the rising Iran threat — including Russia’s dangerous alliance with Iran — and how this is fundamentally reshaping the geopolitics of the region.
I’ve not made a full transcript of my remarks, but here are a few excerpts:
- These [Sunni Arab] countries realize that the threat to the region is not the United States, it’s not Israel even, it’s not Christianity — it’s Iran and Iran’s radical Islamism. And it’s causing a fundamental recalculation of every leader in that region, ‘Who is my friend and who is my foe?’….
- Now, I make things up in novels. But this is real life. Things are happening — Russia is forming an alliance with Iran, Turkey, Qatar. So, to the north, wickedness, evil, danger. To the south, something new: an American, Israeli, Sunni Arab alliance. It’s not perfect. It’s not fully formed. But something is happening that has never happened in history.
- We need to encourage it. We need to nurture it. We need to be grateful that this current administration understands it in a way that the last administration certainly did not.
- And we need to continue to pray — for peace in the region, peace for Jerusalem, and that we can be salt and light in every aspect of life, from foreign policy to human rights and the gospel most importantly….
Later today, I head to New York City for meetings with a number of world leaders on the sidelines of the opening Fall session of the United Nations General Assembly. I’d be grateful for your prayers this week, and will report what I can when I can.
[Note: Though the C-SPAN graphic mentions The Joshua Fund, I was speaking at the Summit as a private individual, not in my capacity as TJF’s Founder. TJF is a strictly non-partisan, non-political organization.]