I’m at the private and historic invitation-only briefing at the U.S. State Department in Washington, D.C.
Shelly and I are with 350 world leaders – representing 90% of countries worldwide. These include government leaders, religious leaders and human rights leaders.
Let me explain.
- This was a first-time-ever historic event.
President Trump made a campaign pledge to stop the persecution of religious minorities.
So, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Vice President Mike Pence and Ambassador for Religious Freedom Sam Brownback worked hard to bring leaders from 80 countries to the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom Conference held under great security inside the State Department building in Washington, D.C.
- The media, politicians and world leaders are ignoring the massive and horrific increase in religious persecution worldwide.
There has been a spike of persecution against Christians as well as other religious minorities worldwide. 80% of the world lives in areas of increased persecution. 5.5 billion people are experiencing this spike, and suffering various forms of persecution:
- Persecuted Christians. Christians make up the largest religious group that is persecuted worldwide, including Christians in India, China, Indonesia, North Korea and other countries. In Nigeria, the genocide grows every day. 21,000 people have been killed so far. That doesn’t even count the women and children who have been raped and kidnapped, the torture and property destruction, and people having to flee homes and towns. Over 900 churches have been destroyed. The suffering is unbelievable. This list could go on.
Other persecuted groups include:
- Muslims in Myanmar, China and other countries
- Buddhists in Tibet and other countries
- And many more…
- The purpose of the conference is to use the moral authority and the economic and military resources of the U.S. to encourage countries worldwide to respect religious freedom.
Throughout the State Department was a banner that read: Religious Liberty: Opportunity, Growth, Liberty, Peace, Security.
Here is what Ambassador for Religious Freedom Sam Brownback had to say:
“We must commit to using all the might and all the machinery, and all the moral authority we have, to stop those nations and actions that trample on free souls.”
The Office of International Religious Freedom – part of a division of the State Department – said “religious freedom has been a cornerstone of America’s success as a nation, and religious freedom is an internationally recognized human right. The ability of each individual to act in accordance with their conscience is intricately connected to a country’s social stability, economic prosperity, and national security. Restrictions on religious freedom violate human rights, fuel political instability, spur violence, disenfranchise vulnerable minorities, and hinder the ability of faith-based groups to contribute to public life.”
- This stand for religious freedom did not happen in the last 8 years under President Obama.
The push for international religious freedom is new in the State Department – It’s a fulfillment of President Trump’s promise.
Under President Obama, religious freedom was basically ignored, and persecution, such as from ISIS, dramatically expanded. Instead of promoting freedom, the Obama-led State Department threatened to withdraw aid and military help from countries if they refused to allow abortion, homosexual marriage, and other progressive political positions.
The Obama-led State Department was at war in trying to transform the morality and ideology of other nations, as well as in the U.S.
What a change.
- The persecuted had a voice.
Attendees were in tears at many of the stories of those persecuted, including Christians locked up in China and Muslims separated from families and forced into re-education camps.
In between panels – including panels on financial aid from the private sector or from public grants and a panel on the media with Mark Burnett, those who experienced persecution firsthand got to speak.
For example, Pastor Hassan Abduraheem suffered two years in prison in Sudan unfairly. American Pastor Andrew Brunson in Turkey was also highlighted.
Here I am with Pastor Hassan Tawor:
- How you can help.
Based upon this trip, I’ll be working on more initiatives to help the persecuted church. Currently we have two petitions. Please ask friends, family, and church members to sign these petitions.
- Stop the Escalating Persecution of Christians in India – Christians in India are experiencing an unprecedented growth of persecution from radical Hindus, in the form of violent attacks, house burnings, rapes, murders and social ostracism. Sign this petition to help protect Christians here by bringing this horrific injustice to the attention of President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. https://www.electionforum.org/stop-persecution-of-christians-in-india/
- Petition: Save the Christians From Genocide. Christians are still being persecuted in the Middle East in the absence of ISIS. The camps are not safe for Christians. This is Congressman Dana Rohrbacher’s bill to fast-track persecuted Christians to the U.S. for asylum. They’re not safe from the violent Muslims in their areas. https://www.electionforum.org/save-christians-genocide-act/
- The power of prayer.
Finally, please pray for Sam Brownback and the rest of those involved in fighting for human rights.
Pray that they would boldly “proclaim freedom for the prisoners and …. set the oppressed free.”[Luke 4:18]
Pray also for persecuted Christians throughout the world, who are being attacked, harassed, mistreated and imprisoned:
Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body. (Hebrews 13:3)
Here’s a video you can watch of the conference:
What a powerful event! It was horrific to hear about what is happening to Christians and religious minorities all over the world … but so encouraging to see the shift in the State Department … and to see that religious freedom is being upheld.
What do you think? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.