With just days to Thursday's vote by the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee on the Turkey Christian Churches Accountability Act (H.R. 4347), the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) has set Tuesday, June 24th as a day for Congressional calls and social media activism in support of this bipartisan religious freedom measure, ANCA reports. Call to Action in support of H.R. 4347
"This Tuesday, please call, post, tweet, and share your support for Turkey's return of stolen Armenian, Greek, Syriac and other Christian churches," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "Let your legislators know you expect them to work for the passage of H.R.4347, and then take two minutes to tell your friends and family that you're taking a stand for the bipartisan Turkey Christian Churches Accountability Act."
The ANCA is asking all supporters of religious freedom to contact their legislators to support H.R.4347, and then to find creative ways to use the hashtag #ReturnChurches in their Facebook, Twitter and other social media posts. A sample phone script and relevant contact information for legislators is available at http://www.anca.org/returnchurches.
The U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, under the leadership of Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA), is set to consider H.R. 4347, the Turkey Christian Churches Accountability Act, on Thursday, June 26th at 9:00 am EST. The freedom of faith initiative is stridently opposed by the Turkish Government.
Introduced this March of this year by Chairman Royce along with the panel's Ranking Democrat Eliot Engel (D-NY), H.R. 4347 would require that the U.S. Department of State formally report to Congress on an annual basis about the status of Turkey's return of stolen Christian churches and properties in Turkey and occupied Cyprus. H.R. 4347 builds on a measure (H.Res.306), spearheaded by Chairman Royce and then House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Democrat Howard Berman (D-CA), which was overwhelmingly adopted by the House of Representatives on December 13, 2011. That resolution set the groundwork for H.R.4347 by calling upon the government of Turkey to honor its international obligations to return confiscated Christian church properties and to fully respect the rights of Christians to practice their faiths.
On Dec 13 2011, U.S. House passed H.Res. 306: Urging the Republic of Turkey to safeguard its Christian heritage and to return confiscated church properties. In summer of 2011, the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs paased the resolution with 43 votes "for" and 1 vote "against." In March 2014, a similar resolution (H.Res 180) was passed under pressure of the Greek lobby.
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