(VIDEO) U.S. Senator Katie Britt Calls for Biden Administration to Step Up Pressure On Nicaraguan Regime Amid Continued Persecution, Imprisonment of Christians Affiliated with American Non-Profit

June 20, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 20, 2024 – U.S. Senator Katie Britt (R-Ala.) this week delivered a speech on the Senate floor calling on the Biden Administration to use every single one of its sanctions enforcement authorities and diplomatic levers to free the Christians affiliated with Mountain Gateway who continue to be wrongfully imprisoned and persecuted in Nicaragua for their religious beliefs.

As Senator Britt mentioned in her remarks, she has been a constant, vocal advocate for these Christian leaders. Most recently, she introduced a resolution along with Senators Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), and Kevin Cramer (R-N.Dak.) condemning the actions of the Nicaraguan government.

Additionally, Senator Britt joined Senators Tuberville, Scott, and Cruz earlier this year in sending a letter to President Biden calling for sanctions on Nicaragua. Senator Britt also signed on to a bipartisan, bicameral letter this February led by Congressman Robert Aderholt (R-AL-04) to the Ambassador of Nicaragua to the United States, expressing their deep concern with the arrest of the Mountain Gateway faith leaders.

A transcript of Senator Britt’s remarks can be found below:

As Americans, we believe that every person on this planet is ‘[endowed] by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.’

Religious freedom is at the top of that list, and for me, I believe it must be protected at every turn.

That’s why I continue to be deeply concerned with what’s happening in Nicaragua.

Since 2018, the Nicaraguan regime has persecuted Christians, including the Catholic Church and various Christian missions and charities.

This lawless behavior has only escalated recently.

In December, Nicaraguan police arrested approximately a dozen individuals, mostly pastors, associated with Mountain Gateway.

These Christian faith leaders have been unjustly imprisoned since then, and were handed down a sham sentence in March.

The regime has imposed a fine totaling nearly $1 billion, about 6% of [Nicaragua’s] entire GDP, along with 12-15 years of imprisonment.

Let’s be very clear – these Christians are in prison today because of their faith.

Their very freedom has been taken away because they chose to preach the Gospel.

And the regime doesn’t seem to want to stop there.

In addition to those arrested and imprisoned, Nicaragua has issued arrest warrants for three Americans, all associated with Mountain Gateway, as well.

Mountain Gateway is an American non-profit, a faith-based organization that was founded by an Alabamian and is based in Texas.

Mountain Gateway recruits, trains, commissions, and sends out ordained Christian ministers to spread the Gospel. 

In Nicaragua, the organization has advanced God’s Kingdom through discipleship, through feeding and clothing those in need, through providing assistance during natural disasters, and sharing the gospel of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

These individuals doing this work should be celebrated – not persecuted.

Earlier this year, I joined a bicameral group of colleagues in criticizing the Nicaraguan regime and this egregious violation of religious freedom.

Led by Congressman Robert Aderholt and Congressman Barry Moore, Alabama’s entire congressional delegation has been united against this, and on this very important bipartisan issue.

We’ve written letters.

We’ve introduced resolutions in both chambers of Congress.

And we’ve called on the Biden Administration to utilize all sanctions enforcement powers and leverage in any diplomatic way.

Any options that are in the toolbox should be used to force Nicaragua to remedy this situation.

Today, I want to emphasize that we can not – and we will not – stop speaking up against this religious persecution in Nicaragua.

We are calling on the Biden Administration to do more now.

The regime must stop targeting American citizens.

And it needs to begin faithfully upholding religious freedom, in compliance with international law and universal standards of human rights.

I yield the floor.

Video of Senator Britt’s remarks can be found here, and high-quality video for media use can be downloaded here.