In Defense of Christians Annual Dinner - Mick Mulvaney CSPAN January 1, 2019 7:25pm-8:03pm EST
if you were to walk down the pier today and ask what brought them here, you would get different reasons for each one of them. >> watch c-span's cities tour of santa monica, california on book tv and sunday at 2 p.m. on american history tv on c-span3. working with our cable affiliates as we explore the american story. >> mick mulvaney who currently serves in the white house as acting chief of staff and the director of the office of management and budget delivered a keynote address last month at a group called in defense of christians. it was over half a hour and it happened just before he was named acting white house chief of staff on december 14. [applause] >> thank you. good evening, ladies and
gentlemen. i welcome you all tonight on our first annual solidarity dinner. it is my pleasure to see so many supporters, champions, and partners, and chapter leaders. i would like to recognize his excellency, our special kristof pierre. his excellency, the bishop. his eminence, archbishop. director of the office of management and budget. [applause]
member of lebanese parliament and our board member. deputy speaker of the hungarian national assembly. his excellency, the hungarian ambassador to the united states. the lebanese ambassador to the united states, his excellency. congressman and mrs. randy weber from the state of texas, 14th district. congressman from the state of arkansas, second district.
congressman from the state of nebraska, first district. congressman from the state of alabama, fourth district. congressman from the state of pennsylvania, 12th district. congressman from the state of illinois, 14th district. congressman from virginia's fifth district. congressman, brad sherman, from california's 30th district.
thank you all for being with us and thank you for being great supporters of idc. today, four years after the founding, i am proud that our organization has achieved so much in a few years for the christians of the middle east. our success has been largely due to the commitment of many of the religious rights, freedom rights, and human rights. for those of you who were with us last year, you have heard vice president pence promise more and direct support to the persecuted christians.
i am happy to tell you that the trump administration has delivered on their promise. already, $300 million have been pledged into the recovery of persecution response program provided directly to organizations that are making an immediate difference to the people who are mostly in need. [applause] >> we have been working with, along with our partners, and supporters in the u.s. legislation and other policymakers and the administration to focus on decisions which have an immediate relief result for suffering people as well as policies and resolutions which are aimed to improve the state of religious minorities in the middle east to prevent recurrences of the recent crimes.
2018 marked a year of legislative success for idc and our mission. in november alone, congress unanimously passed the iraq and syria relief and accountability act. [applause] >> also, in november, the house of representatives passed the global fragility and violence reduction act. and the senate voted with strong bipartisan support to advance a resolution seeking to withdraw the united states from the yemen conflict among other achievements. [applause] >> our idc team this year, to
give you just some of our examples of what we've done, we've met in congress and we've had over 250 meetings in congress, 2000 idc activists sent letters to their representatives, 75 meetings with partner organizations, 25 volunteers in district meetings with members of congress and senators across the country. we had held briefings in april for lebanon and in may on turkey, in july for the middle east and another one for turkey in september. we've had a lot of meetings with the white house, with the vice president's office department of state and national security council. you will hear this evening from some of our champions and partners.
how our combined efforts achieved measurable and critical results. many more of our champions are not here with us tonight and we are thankful to have them as partners in our mission. now, i would like to welcome our bishop, bishop zaden of the mennonite church for his opening remarks. thank you. [applause] >> good evening, everyone. your excellency and honorable members of congress, distinguished guests, idc president, ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, our nation today paid tribute and bid farewell to the 41st president, mr. george bush. a man with a broad experience in government and leadership positions. he was a congressman, ambassador, cia director, vice president, and finally president of this great nation.
in all of these positions, he tried his best to serve his -- this country and the humanity at large. even though he will not be physically present, but i'm sure he's legacy will remain in the minds of many and in the history of this great nation. we offered our sincere condolences to his family along with the assurance of our prayers. and tonight we come together on behalf of our christian brothers and sisters who face persecution and all difficult times as well. idc was established to be the voice of the oppressed, the forgotten, especially in the part of the world where christ was born, where he lived, where he preached, where he died and where he rose from the dead. and in that part of the world,
the three religion of judaism and christianity and islam were born as well. christians are original citizens, part of the makeup of all of those countries. and fortunately in some places their voice, their very presence is threatened. the persecution takes various forms and ways. some direct, through killing, kidnapping. or indirect, through lack of freedom in equality and nor presentation in government and fear of the future of the unknown. idc is a great organization to bring the plight that caused their voice of the elected officials and people of this great nation who shares the fundamental values of a freedom of justice and human rights. dear friends, the greatest fear, our christian brothers and
sisters face is the feeling of being forgotten. no one cares. no one thinks about them. no one even prays for them. they are oftentimes blamed. tell the west to help you if they really like you. let us all join our efforts to pray for them, lend them a helping hand, support their cause to live with dignity. let us give them a ray of hope that better days lie ahead. let us all together resolved to do something for them.
tonight, we are honored to have with us his excellency archbishop pierre. francis has made it his mission to care for the less fortunate and needy, the persecuted, the oppressed, the poor. his voice of love, care and compassion in our world today. we are grateful to his holiness for his special attention to that cause and we think archbishop pierre for being the visible extension of his efforts and a great supporter of this cause. thank you tonight for your presence and may our loving god hear your prayers and reward your efforts. the floor is yours to lead us in prayer as well as some words of wisdom. [applause]
>> good evening. i wish to congratulate you for your efforts whatever you do in favor of those being persecuted. i think it is so important. if we really ourselves believe we cannot be indifferent to the suffering of so many others, brothers and sisters all around the world. so thank you in the name of the holy father for this gesture of solidarity. in the beginning of this evening, i've been asked to pray, so i invite you to pray with me. let us pray. heavenly father, as we gather
this evening for idc's fifth solidarity dinner, we humbly ask for your continued blessings upon all the chapters of idc, upon all who on capitol hill advocate for the protection of christians in the middle east, and above all, who suffer with venerable christians. as we break the bread of fellowship, may each of us build a commitment to show solidarity. we are persecuted brothers and sisters, and live each day in division that in a common humanity there is more that unites than divides. strengthen us with your grace and mercy to work together and
to work together as your sons and daughters, dedicated to justice and peace, determined to build a culture of life and love. we ask you to bless the food we are about to receive and that in your goodness, you will provide for our brothers and sisters who are hungry. we ask this through christ our lord. bon appetit. [applause] >> when i think of the person i'm about to introduce, it reminds me of the words of god that says, many are called, few are chosen. charles hage, president of the
miromite foundation and the board of trustees will be introducing our keynote speaker. mr. hage has many years of experience in worldwide management consulting, and his expertise is in telecom and engineering sectors. he holds a bachelor of engineering degree from george mason university. he's the co-founder and managing director of modicum communications based in lebanon. he's also a member of the board of trustees of holy spirit university of caselik. i give you charles hage. [applause] >> good evening.
i'm delighted to be with you this evening and to share in this banquet organized to perfection by idc. the policy of the trump administration is to support the christians of the middle east. the challenge we face is to align our stated policy with our actions. failing to act and support a secure and dignified christian effort in the middle east cannot be achieved if the overwhelming numbers of displaced syrians remain in lebanon. lebanon is home to the last bastion of free christians in the middle east, but the community is suffering as a result of the heavy environmental, social and economic toll created by the presence of over a million and a half displaced citizens on lebanese soil. during a recent audience in the vatican with his holiness, he expressed the need to preserve
the holy balance between christians and muslims to have the strength to succeed in lebanon. as you can imagine, the living conditions for all lebanese has been severely impacted and the faith of christians has surfaced again. the idea that lebanon presents a nation of peaceful coexistence among civilization will cease to exist and the world will be hard pressed to reinvent a lebanon, but it will be too late. from our side, the menonite foundation is working closely with the idc, the lebanon church in washington to help members of lebanese ancestry regain their right to lebanese citizenship. [applause]
>> fostering strong ties between the lebanese and those living at home, compliments and contributes to the success and policy of the support of the christians in the middle east. ladies and gentlemen, honored guests, our next speaker needs no introduction to this gathering. a man of principle and of high intellect with whom i have had the privilege of meeting in the past. the honorable mick mulvaney is the current director of the office of management and budget, omb, a key position in the trump administration. prior to his time as the director of omb, he served the people of the fifth district of south carolina as the congressman where he was first elected in 2010. director mulvaney has been a friend and advocate for middle eastern christians for years. meeting with the mennonite patriarch in 2014, meeting the syria orthodox patriarch in
2015, and working with them to pass the resolution to recognize the genocide in libya and syria. [applause] >> mick and his wife pam are the proud parents of triplets, james, caroline and finnegan, and two great danes guinness and harper. ladies and gentlemen, please give a warm welcome to mr. mick mulvaney. [applause] >> thank you very much. people always ask me about the dogs named guinness and harper and ask me what i do for fun. i want to thank mr. hage for the introduction. i want to thank you for inviting me.
thank you to all the religious leaders and excellence that are here. thank you for inviting me and giving me this opportunity to speak this evening. i will begin by saying this. i really wasn't supposed to be here today. we had been asked by the heads of protocol at the white house not to do any official events today given the solemnity having to do with the funeral. we were supposed to cancel all our official events. i talked to the white house and i said, look, i'm speaking to this group on wednesday evening. they said, please cancel. i said, well, it's in defense of christians and i think it would be something that george bush would probably want me to do. [applause] >> and the white house absolutely agreed and insisted that i come. so i want to thank the folks who make those types of decisions tool lou me to be here and speak
to you for just a little bit. that being said, why me? most of you probably don't know who i am, and you shouldn't know who i am. my only concern is that some of the folks i used to work with probably don't know who i am. you had the vice president here last year, and i think that speaks volumes to the commitment this administration has to this cause. but i'm -- [applause] >> i'm here on behalf of another group of people. you all know about the work that mike pence has done, the vice president. you know about the work mike pompeo is doing at state. you obviously know about the great work sam brombeck is doing for the religious liberties. those are the big names. the reason i come here tonight is just to remind everybody that
for every one or two of those, there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of men and women working in the federal government every single day on these types of issues. folks that you will never hear of. you may be sitting with them tonight. there's folks here who work for the federal government for whom this is an absolute priority. the reason they asked me to go to the ministerial was to deliver the message that, yes, you see the headlines about mike pence, but you don't see what's going on behind the scenes, and it's happening every single day. as a result of that, we had some large accomplishments in the last two years, things you're probably familiar with. we had the state department ministerial which i mentioned which was such a success. not only did we have, i think, 500 or 600 people participate for days of meetings, but it was the ancillary meetings that naturally grew from that that made it such a success. i heard a number of as many as 75 multilateral-bilateral meetings grew from that one amount of festivities. you heard that we reinstated the
physical poverty. we reinstated over $9 billion of overseas aid. i've learned in a very real way what u.s. foreign aid can do for good and then not for so good. i'm a member of the international catholic legislators network. a few of our members are here tonight. and as part of that group, we travel to rome every year, and we've learned how u.s. foreign aid has been used in the past to crush religious liberties. u.s. aid in the past, we will go to countries and say, yes, we know that you have a democratically elected government and we know you have restrictions on abortion. but unless you're going to change those rules, you can't have any of our money. that was a stunning thing to me to learn. this administration is stopping it. one of the other big things we've done, we cut off funding
to the u.n. population fund. we had the march for life where the president appeared via satellite and the vice president appeared in person, the first time either of those two things have happened. my guess is you know about all those things, or at least you should. you follow this issue closely and i know you've probably paid attention to one or more of those things. it's not what i want to come talk about tonight. what i want to come talk about tonight very briefly is the stuff that you probably don't know about, the stuff that happens behind the scenes, the stuff that happens under the radar, the stuff that happens off of the pages of the press and not on the television screen. and when i did my research tonight, because i gave a little portion of this speech in rome this past august to go over the things we've accomplished, i actually had to do something i never do, which is i had to print it up because the list is so long of the small things that we've accomplished in the first
two years. if you give me just a few moments, i want to walk you through some of these things. i think this group more than any would understand when you understand the importance of the high-profile things. they can't be discounted. it's the value of the everyday things, the small things that change in the united states federal government that the have ramifications around the world. the department of justice has been very aggressive. the department of justice, for example, announced a religious liberty update to the u.s. attorney's manual which raised the profile of religious liberties cases and directed the designation of a person in charge of religious liberties in every single attorney's office countrywide. they also issued 20 principles of religious liberties as part of our litigation strategy and our strategy to protect religious freedoms. this means now with these changes that every u.s. attorney's office in the united states has someone specially dedicated to religious liberties and special rules on how to handle those cases. this is the type of thing that hasn't been done for a long time by the federal government. the department of health and
human services formed a new conscious and religious freedom division providing hhs with the focus it needs to vigorously and effectively enforce existing laws and protect the rights of conscience. just last month they provided rules to issue conscious protection of americans who have a religious or moral objection to health insurance that covers contraceptive methods. again, it's a major development, something you probably haven't heard about. within that group, there is a center of medicare and medicaid studies. they announced their program integrity proposed rules which require that issues or plans on the obamacare exchanges send an entirely separate monthly bill to the consumer for only the portion of the premium attributable to abortion coverage so that people will see where their money is going. they also are going to instruct the people who pay a premium of abortion coverage in a separate transaction to allow folks to see where their money is going. these are at the administrative
levels, the everyday goings-on of government. what's happening administration-wide. one of the first things the president did, and i was stunned to find this was the rule when i got into government. for those that don't know what we do, we control the flow of funds. treasury collects the money, congress appropriates the money and it flows to us before it gets out to everybody. one of the things i learned during the hurricane rebuilding efforts in texas and florida and puerto rico and a bunch of other places was that we were not allowed, by previous administrations, to use damage money, disaster money, to rebuild houses of worship. that was stunning to me that we were not able to do that. now we can. now we can. and we are in those states that have been affected. [applause] >> in the courts we've supported baker jack phillips' right to operate his bakery in accordance with his religious beliefs. we declared students ineligible to get a degree because they attended a religious school.
you would think we would take for granted being a government so founded on religious liberties and to find that these things have not been taking place in the past was surprising, but the fact we're able to fix it has been particularly rewarding. the most recent thing, by the way, was that the president just signed an executive order on the establishment of white house faith and opportunity initiative in order to do a bunch of things which will include creating a position of adviser to the white house, faith and opportunity to be supported by experts in various community faith leaders from outside the federal government. we're going to start bringing groups like the idc in to have them help us identify where we are not doing as good a job as we can and protecting religious liberties and finding out places where we can be more proactive. [applause]
>> so that's quite a list. and it sort of humbles me to know what we've been able to do in the first two years, let alone in the next six. [applause] >> what does it all mean? listen, i used to be a politician as are many of the folks in the room. i always used to go home, and one time i was telling folks what we were doing in washington, d.c. and we talked about passing this bill and passing this resolution and doing all these things, and somebody stood up in the back and said, that's all words. what are you actually doing? it reminded me, by the way, of the very first time i met the holy father with the icn a couple years back. he spoke to us on sunday after mass, and he brought us into -- i can't remember the name of the room -- and said -- it's the only thing i remember. it was one of those things you
don't remember very well but you remember one thing he said. look, i know you're catholic and i know you're christian so i know what you believe. now show me what you can do. and that sunk in. i put that together with a comment from the gentleman in the back of one of my town hall meetings. so whenever i do these types of presentations and i get finished talking about what we've done in terms of passing this legislation or passing this resolution, i'd like to find at least one thing we've actually done, an action, something we've accomplished. which is why it was so rewarding to me to see this past year when we went to the ministerial and we talked about pastor bronson. and the vice president and the secretary of state went to the president and said, this is a priority. and the president brought the full weight of the united states government down on turkey in order to pressure them to return pastor bronson and it worked. [applause]
>> that is the culmination, that is the manifestation of all these things i talked about tonight. all the big things that we do and all the small things that we do come together on something like that. and i'm looking forward to doing that more as we go through the second half of this first term. the president is absolutely committed to this. the vice president is absolutely committed to this. there are men and women on his staff that do nothing but this. it is important to us. and i know it's important to you. so i'll close by saying this. i know that you are passionate about this. we have talked about this many, many times. passion about freedom for christians in the middle east, passionate about religious minorities in the middle east, passionate about the role of lebanon in the middle east, passionate about the role of middle eastern liberty is what cardinal ryan mentioned one time is what he called the 11 of society. it was a calming influence in society. i know that you're passionate about that. what i'm here tonight to tell
you more than anything else are two things. one, thank you. it means a great deal to more of us than you probably ever will know or we'll ever be able to thank you for. and number two, just to know that you are not alone. we are on the front lines, that we are dealing with these things in the middle east. when you're dealing with your family and you're dealing with your friends, know there are people you will never meet and you will never know who care about these things as well and are doing everything they can to help you. so thank you for having me tonight. [applause] >> i have a surprise award for my friend mick mulvaney. it wasn't a surprise. >> how am i going to get this home? goodness gracious. >> it's a piece of lebanon and
it says solidarity dinner 2018 to director mick mulvaney for his style of service on behalf of the christians of the middle east who have suffered for their faith. we thank you for all that you have done for the protection and preservation of christians and christianity in the middle east. the righteous shall flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar in lebanon. [applause] >> the only bad news now is that i walk to work in the morning, which means i walk home. so if you see a strange man carrying a tree down 14th street -- thank you very much. [applause] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] >> first up, mark farkas.
he talks about c-span's new documentary, "the senate: conflict and compromise". and we hear from several freshmen members of congress while they were attending orientation. a little bit later, peace corps director jody olson under her mission and operation. a divided government returns to washington with the convening of the 116th congress. democrats assume control of the house of representatives while republicans increase her majority in the senate. this congress has been described as the most everson history, with over 100 new members coming to washington, including more women and minorities than ever before. thursdayhat known on
as the 116th congress gavels into session. watch your member take the oath of office, the election of the new speaker, and the congress begin its work. new congress, new leaders -- live on c-span and c-span2. >> headline in the wall street journal, as government shutdown continues, workers worries and bills grow. government of the shutdown drawing to a close, about 380,000 federal employees continue on unpaid leave or have been furloughed. an additional 420,000 employees were deemed -- or deemed essential are working without pay. the workers are bracing for worse, deferring payments, filing unemployment claims and notifying landlord's that they may not make rent. rachel beit of politico is tweeting that donald trump has invited congressional leaders to discuss the wall fight tomorrow
afternoon -- first face-to-face meeting since the shutdown started 11 days ago. the house will, gavel in for a brief performance session tomorrow with no legislative work schedule. a bill to end the shutdown will be depending business when the senate returns in the afternoon at 4:00 eastern. let's coverage on c-span2. areotes on federal funding expected until thursday one house democrats plan to debate legislation to reopen the government without additional money for a border wall that president trump is seeking. ♪