Will the U.S. House Help Christians Suffering Persecution?


Last week, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom met to offer a report to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs.  Commissioner Elliott Abrams offered a compelling plea for Congress to take up the cause of persecuted Christians around the world.

By following this link, you can view video testimonies from the hearing, as well as find full text versions of the transcripts of the events. I offer with deep gratitude the following excerpt from Commissioner Abrams’ report:

Christian persecution

Edward Royce
Chairman, U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs

 I commend this subcommittee highlighting the gravity of this persecution. Because of your efforts and those of others both within government and beyond, millions of Americans are aware of the egregious mistreatment of individual Christians such as Pastor Saeed Abedini, an Iranian born American citizen imprisoned in Iran. Pastor Abedini was sentenced to eight years in prison for daring to live out the full dimensions of his faith under a theocratic dictatorship which seeks monopoly status in the public square for its own beliefs. USCIRF has highlighted his case and continues to urge our government to press the Iranian government to release him immediately.

Unfortunately, the Iranian government’s mistreatment of Pastor Abedini reflects the stark and disturbing reality for many Christians seeking to live out their beliefs in country after country across the globe. There are more than two billion Christians in the world — which is nearly one third of the world’s population, and in one-third of all nations, containing 75 percent of the world’s population, governments either perpetrate or permit serious violations of the religious freedom rights of their citizens. A recent report of a 6-year study from the Pew Research Center found that Christians were harassed in 151 countries, the largest number of any group surveyed, and in many of these countries the conditions for religious freedom are awful. In other words, given their large numbers and wide dispersion across countries, and given the poor status of religious freedom in many of these states, it is unfortunately no surprise that Christians so often fall victim to persecution. 

In addition to these factors, there are other elements that explain not just the fact of Christians being persecuted, but the reasons for their persecution. To a disproportionate extent, Christians in many of these nations signify the “other.” They often are members of ethnic or language minorities, or are viewed as linked to the West and Western interests. In many of these nations, Christianity also represents an alternative source of authority, thereby posing a direct threat both to tyrannical governments and extremist private actors.

In addition to these factors, there are other elements that explain not just the fact of Christians being persecuted, but the reasons for their persecution. To a disproportionate extent, Christians in many of these nations signify the “other.” They often are members of ethnic or language minorities, or are viewed as linked to the West and Western interests. In many of these nations, Christianity also represents an alternative source of authority, thereby posing a direct threat both to tyrannical governments and extremist private actors.

Again, the entire session with transcripts is available here. Please share this information with your friends and family.

 

One thought on “Will the U.S. House Help Christians Suffering Persecution?

  1. Pingback: Will the U.S. House Help Christians Suffering Persecution? « VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

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