Freedom That’s Larger than Light

religious discrimination religion conservatives liberty human dignity freedom lightYou’ve heard of Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday. But what about Red Wednesday? For the past couple of years, on November 28, the world has taken time out of the holiday season to stop and remember the millions of persecuted Christians around the world. From the Palace of Westminster to the Roman Coliseum, buildings around the globe will turn scarlet to raise awareness about the suffering of the faithful. And for the first time, America is joining in.

Churches like the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Mary in Washington, D.C. will be bathed in red – all with the goal of shining a real light on the injustices to believers in other lands. Aid to the Church in Need, the organization sponsoring the event, hopes the day will encourage more people to take a stand for faith and freedom.

And not a moment too soon. Over the last several years, the attacks on Christians have skyrocketed. The number of abuses — from harassment to outright violence — have increased so rapidly that most scholars agree Christians are the most persecuted group in the world. According to the new report from Aid to the Church in Need, the majority of the world’s population — 61 percent — live in countries where the right to religious freedom is “obstructed or denied outright.” Amazingly, that includes 327 million Christians, who live in countries where they face religious persecution — with another 178 million suffering some form of discrimination because of their faith.

The latest reports from Open Doors and the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) are just as full of stories of abuse, torture, harassment, and death. It’s noteworthy, Ewelina Ochab writes in Forbes, that in countries where Christians are persecuted, they’re usually a minority group.

“The religious persecution encountered by Christians differs from place to place. It is perpetrated by both state or non-state actors. It involves severe restriction of rights, threats and acts of violence (both single isolated acts or mass violence). The steps that need to be taken to address the atrocities vary from case to case. However, in every case, it is crucial that the case receives as much attention as possible. We must shed light on the atrocities.”

The Trump administration has certainly done its part. From the president and vice president to Secretary Mike Pompeo and Ambassador Sam Brownback, Red Wednesday is just part of a 365-day strategy to raise the banner of international religious freedom across the globe. With the arrival of campaigns like this one, the president may finally have the world partners he needs to make a real difference. The more voices and prayers raised for the persecuted, the greater the hope for true change.

Reprinted with permission from - FRC.org - by Tony Perkins

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