American television viewers today will be greeted with a grisly reminder that perhaps millions of religious believers worldwide, especially Christians, face "persecution, slavery, torture and murder" for their faith.
The graphic TV spot, unveiled by the conservative think tank Empower America, is the latest move to defend believers abroad.
"Very little is being done to address the issue," said William Bennett, former education secretary and current president of Empower America. "We don't think it is just one more thing for the government to look at. This cries for attention."
At a news conference debuting the 60-second spot complete with images of mutilation and lynchings, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, Connecticut Democrat, and Jeane Kirkpatrick, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, also said the problem is a leading human rights issue.
"As Americans, we have a unique obligation to speak out and act against religious persecution," said Mr. Lieberman, who appears on the video with Mr. Bennett.
The spot opens with words about persecution and murder, with Sudan, Egypt, China, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan named as being responsible for such abuses.
"You probably didn't know," Mr. Lieberman says on screen, "that this century has seen more anti-Christian persecution than any other."
The spot invites viewers to call an 800 number to learn the scale of the problem, and how they can help solve it.
Empower America also will hold a summit in Washington on June 23, bringing together clergy, lawmakers and foreign-affairs specialists to highlight religious persecution.
"The most important action we can take as Americans is to call attention," Mrs. …