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'Faithkeepers' Documentary Tells the Truth About Christian Genocide in the Middle East

Co-producers Roma Downey and Paula Kweskin joined Glenn on radio Tuesday with a timely message in the wake of the terrorist attack in Manchester, England. Their new project --- Faithkeepers --- is a documentary highlighting the genocide and violence against Christian people in the Middle East.

"Faithkeepers is a brand-new documentary film," Kweskin said. "And our goal is really to tell the story behind the headlines. As you mentioned, we get so overwhelmed with the horror that is coming out of the Middle East that we forget that there's men, women and children who are dealing with this reality every single day, Christians who are being persecuted for their faith, who are experiencing a genocide."

At a time when hope is fleeting, the message that we can stand up and be our brothers' keeper has never been more powerful and meaningful.

"All of the worst things in the world stopped because the West remembered who they were --- and we are people that have always followed God. The best way to serve God is to serve your fellow man. We truly are still the last great hope for the world and freedom. And if we don't remember who we are soon, the world can fall into profound darkness --- but it doesn't have to," Glenn said.

For more information about the documentary and how to get involved, visit Faithkeepers online.

Enjoy the complimentary clip or read the transcript for details.

GLENN: Coproducers of the new movie that opens up nationwide today called Faithkeepers, Roma Downey and Paula Kweskin.

Roma, Paula, welcome to the program.

ROMA: Good morning, Glenn.

GLENN: How are you?

ROMA: I'm grand. It's -- we're grand. Thank you. It's with heavy hearts every day that we open the newspapers and just hear what's going on around our world.

GLENN: What happened last night in Manchester, as you guys can testify -- and I'm so glad to have you on today -- because people need to realize that we are fighting against a people that -- that do not have anything close to our values, especially when it comes to children.

I believe -- I believe this arena was intentionally targeted to kill the children, to shock us and to horrify us.

ROMA: Well, from that point of view, it certainly succeeded. We are shocked and we are horrified and we are heartbroken this morning, as we start looking at the pictures coming out of Manchester. And our hearts and our prayers are -- are with the people of Manchester this day.

GLENN: So I watched your film yesterday from the Clarion Project called Faithkeepers. And it is -- I want to -- I guess I want to say it's stirring. It's not depressing. It is shocking. But it stirs you into -- into action, of at least at first recognizing what we're dealing with.

Paula, do you want to talk about a little bit what the movie is?

PAULA: Sure. So Faithkeepers is a brand-new documentary film, as you mentioned. And our goal is really to tell the story behind the headlines. As you mentioned, we get so overwhelmed with the horror that is coming out of the Middle East, that we forget that there's men, women, and children who are dealing with this reality every single day. Christians who are being persecuted for their faith, who are experiencing a genocide. And what we did was, we spoke to these individuals. We heard their stories of bravery and courage. And we're bringing those stories to Christians and Americans. And really trying to inspire them and have them stand up and be their brother's keeper.

GLENN: Yeah. It's truly amazing. And Roma, we've seen this. You've been involved, thank you so much, you and Mark, for being involved with the Nazarene Fund and Mercury One. But we've seen it firsthand. And the courage -- and you've captured it in this film, the courage of these -- some of them, you know, teenagers, that say, you know, every day we got a knock on the door. And if you want to explain that part of the movie, it's pretty powerful. It's how it opens up. And how there was no fear involved.

ROMA: Yes. Some of these stories that we have in this film are just chilling, Glenn, of the accounts that these Christian families went through, targeted because of their faith.

And, you know, those that we spoke to were the fortunate ones in that they were lucky enough to get away with their lives, when so many others did not.

And what we see -- what we were able to show in the film were not just the fear and the pressure on the lives of these people, but that there was a design at play to eliminate the footprint that they had ever been there. We see churches being destroyed. We see holy relics and holy books.

You know, this is the holy land. This is where our Christian religion started. And to see it just being erased over there is also very chilling.

GLENN: It's pretty amazing though the heroics that we have seen. We know firsthand -- and I don't want to give out too many details. But there was some very important Jewish relics in areas of the Middle East that ISIS was coming into. And the Christians gathered around and dug up all of these rel and I can say moved all these relics and buried them with GPS coordinates so you could go back and find them. But they would not leave another person's faith in the dust, to be destroyed and desecrated.

I mean, the people -- the people over there -- I don't know. They just -- I wish more of us were like -- were like them. I wish I was like them. The courage that they have is remarkable.

ROMA: Oh, I think it absolutely is remarkable. And the upsetting thing is that I'm sure that many of them feel forgotten by us over here. The enormity of this genocide that's occurring, we are a people that are half awake to the issues. And I remember as a little girl, Glenn, at school in Ireland reading -- it was part of our reading curriculum, reading the diary of Anne Frank. And I was just a child, and I was so upset by the book, of course. By the story. By my young understanding of the -- of the scale of what had happened.

And with the innocence of a child, I said, "Well, what was everybody else doing? Like, where was the world? Why was nobody else helping?" And I feel a little bit like that now. It's like, "Where are we? And what are we doing?" There's just so -- I think what has happened is so much fear has been generated. And certainly justified by events like last night in Manchester, that emotionally we start to close down to these bigger issues, I think.

This film, Faithkeepers, is really a way to let people see these stories, to feel these stories, to get to know, you know, one person at a time. We've told a number of personal stories in this film, to help an American audience really understand what's going on over there.

GLENN: So you've had to have -- and you've done a great job in this, balancing. You know, we have -- through the Nazarene Fund, we have moved a lot of people out of the Middle East. But we also started something called Operation Underground Railroad. And this is all about the slave trade that's happening all over the world.

And we really wrestle with, how do we get people to pay attention?

And the thing that I struggle with is, it's really easy for people to say, "Oh -- you know, in the case of slavery -- oh, all of our founders, they were rich, white slave owners, and they just didn't care.

Slavery right now is -- is four times the problem than it was over a 400-year period during the western slave trade. So it's much more prevalent. But people don't want to see it because it's overwhelming and they don't -- they just don't want to think about it because it's so horrible.

When you were making this film, how did you balance that in -- in getting people to see it, without shoving it in their face so they just can't look?

PAULA: Well, I think that the film does a good job of balancing that incredible resilient spirit. And so what inspired me through making the film was showing that even when there, it seems like all hope is lost, there are -- there are miracles that happen. There's the kindness of strangers. And there's just an incredible will to carry on. So there's one story in the film, where a woman was kidnapped and raped for being a Christian. And she was told that she needed to convert to Islam, which she refused to do. Then her husband was beheaded in front of her. And ironically, she escaped with her children to Syria.

But she never lost her faith. And I think that those stories are the ones that moved me. And I think that those are the stories that will move audiences, when they view the film.

GLENN: Roma Downey and Paula Kweskin.

Where is the movie being seen? Is it open everywhere today?

PAULA: We have a limited nationwide release at churches. And I would love to encourage all your listeners to go to faithkeepersmovie.com to continue to sign up for screenings. This is really a grassroots campaign. And the Clearing Project and Lightworkers have put so much into this, to make sure that people feel empowered to bring these stories back to their home communities. So faithkeepersmovie --

GLENN: Go ahead. Faithkeepersmovie.com?

PAULA: .com, correct.

GLENN: So if my church isn't one of the churches that is signed up for it, can I -- can I register to have my church? And does it cost my church anything to run it at the church?

PAULA: Absolutely. Absolutely, they can continue to sign up. We're going to be pushing for screenings throughout this summer. It's practically no cost. We're doing some tickets at $8 a pop. But we're really just wanting to open it up to as many churches and as many communities as possible. So it's not too late to sign up now for a screening for your own church or community center.

GLENN: I can't recommend this highly enough. We -- you know, the -- you know, the underground railroad -- slavery stopped -- all of the worst things in the world stopped because the West remembered who they were. And we are people that have always followed God. And the best way to serve God is to serve your fellow man. We truly are still the last great hope for the world and freedom. And if we don't remember who we are soon, the world can fall into profound darkness. But it doesn't have to.

And it will happen in the churches. So please, I -- I watched it yesterday. It is really good. It is something that everybody needs to see. Something that can wake your community up. And there are action steps as well. There are many ways that you can get involved and help save the Christians and the Yazidis and the women and children over there that are facing absolute horrors. This is -- this is the Holocaust of our time. And hopefully, we stop it before it gets any worse and travels. But we need to stop it now. Go to faithkeepersmovie.com. Faithkeepersmovie.com. And Roma and Paula, thank you so much. I appreciate it.

ROMA: Glenn, thank you so much for having us on. We really appreciate you.

GLENN: You bet. God bless.

ROMA: Thank you. God bless you.

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