However, Christians cannot wait for political leaders to act, Shah insisted, adding that Christian mobilization will bring about policy action.
"It is supremely ridiculous, if I may say, to ask the Obama administration to bear the moral weight of this issue when we don't bear any of the moral weight of this issue ourselves," he said.
He proposed a sort of examination of conscience for Christians and parishes, asking questions like:
"Do our congregational prayers reflect a deep concern about what's happening to our brothers and sisters, patriarchs from Syria and Iraq?
"Do our Sunday schools feature any kind of discussion or teaching about what's happening to our Christian brothers and sisters?
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"Does our catechetical instruction feature a discussion about these kinds of issues, both the basis of religious freedom as well as empirically what's happening to the Body of Christ around the world?"
The answer to the questions is pretty clearly "no," he said. "We have no intellectual, emotional, empirical, spiritual connection to what is happening to our brothers and sisters."
Religious freedom for people of all faiths must be a priority, the panel insisted, and Christians cannot just deplore Christian persecution while ignoring persecution of other religious minorities.