American Pastors Network Commends U.S. Commitment to Addressing Religious Persecution
‘Stand in the Gap Today’ Radio Guest from ‘Save the Persecuted Christians’ Group Discusses Urgent Call to National Leaders to Continue to Advocate for Believers in Christ Around the World
PHILADELPHIA—President Donald Trump last Monday delivered an historic address on religious freedom worldwide, and many who are passionate about this important subject called it one of the best speeches he has given over his entire presidency.
The American Pastors Network (APN), the largest national network dedicated to equipping pastors to be a voice for truth in the public square, said the United Nations address was a much-needed call to national leaders, Christians and the Church.
APN president and host Sam Rohrer discussed the president’s bold stance on worldwide religious freedom on APN’s daily, popular radio program, “Stand in the Gap Today,” which reaches millions of listeners on hundreds of stations.
For the program Friday titled “Saving the Persecuted Christians,” Rohrer and his co-hosts welcomed Dede Laugesen, executive director of Save the Persecuted Christians, which advocates on behalf of hundreds of millions of persecuted Christians worldwide.
“Last week, President Trump stood before the UN in historic fashion,” Rohrer said on the show. “He made some amazing statements to the world in regard to the plight of Christian persecution. He challenged the world’s leaders to stand up and do what is morally right in regard to stopping government sanctioned Christian persecution. Among other wonderful statements, he said this, ‘Today, I ask all nations to join us in this urgent moral duty. We ask the governments of the world to honor the eternal right of every person to follow their conscience, live by their faith, and give glory to God.’
“Because of the significance of the president’s words, the significance of his boldness to stand before some of the greatest butchers and persecutors of Christians around the world and to call them to task, and because of the enormous plight of over 300 million Christians worldwide right now suffering at the hands of unjust and evil regimes and rulers, we chose to devote an entire program to the matter of Christian persecution,” Rohrer continued. “The historic statements made by President Trump were bolder than any previous U.S. president in that secular setting that historically has little concern for God, Jews or Christians. As a former elected official myself, I can say that such bold statements are made in such settings for one of two reasons: Either they are politically driven and pragmatically considered, with certain strategic goals in mind, or they are driven by conviction, a moral sense of rightness and justice arising from the understanding that those in positions of civil authority possess an inherent God-given duty to protect the innocent and use the sword of government to protect those who do well and to bring justice against those who do evil. We pray our president’s comments were the latter, and will long serve as an example to Christians here in the U.S., pastors in the pulpit and the American Christian Church as a whole.”
During the program, Rohrer and Laugesen spoke about the critical nature of Christian persecution around the world. In fact, a new report last week from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), found that Christians are the most persecuted religion, and incidents of violence are “accelerating,” CBN News reported.
A few of these instances have been covered in the national media, such as imprisoned American pastor Andrew Brunson, who was released from a Turkish prison last year, and Pakistani Christian woman Asia Bibi, who was freed from death row after being charged with blasphemy. Both the Trump administration and Save the Persecuted Christians were involved in the cases.
But millions more Christians are persecuted without media coverage and suffer in silence. Open Doors USA reports that in one year, from November 2017 to October 2018, over 245 million Christians lived in places where they experience high levels of persecution, 4,305 Christians were killed for their faith, 1,847 churches and other Christian buildings were attacked, and 3,150 believers were detained without trial, arrested, sentenced or imprisoned. These figures were gathered to create Open Doors’ 2019 World Watch List, which ranks countries based on the severity of Christian persecution.
“Also in his remarks,” Rohrer said, “the president said, ‘Today, with one clear voice, the United States of America calls upon all the nations of the world to end religious persecution. To stop the crimes against people of faith, release prisoners of conscience, repeal laws restricting freedom of religion and belief, protect the vulnerable, the defenseless and the oppressed. America stands with believers in every country who ask only for the freedom to live according to the faith that is within their own hearts.’
“The choice of words—crimes against people of faith, prisoners of conscience, protect the vulnerable, defenseless and oppressed—indicate a worldwide plight and an urgency,” Rohrer continued. “Under God’s plan for society, God has given to all civil authorities the sword of justice, as talked about in Romans 13. Ultimately that measurement is linked in law to the Ten Commandments, which is why they were once on our schoolroom walls and still hang in most courtrooms, even though they are there more of vague reminder of ancient history than prevailing standards of justice. Every Christian must be aware of the reality of persecution and ask themselves how they can respond.”
Laugesen added that the historic UN event was the first time a world leader has specifically addressed the issue of religious freedom to the other assembled world leaders at the United Nations.
“Save the Persecuted Christians continues to call on President Trump to more specifically champion the plight of the world’s persecuted Christians,” she added. “Christians are by far and away the world’s most persecuted religious group. To be sure, others are harmed, but a recent U.K. government reportshows that anti-Christian violence worldwide is reaching genocidal levels in multiple places and exists in a record number of countries. Of those harmed by religious-based violence, which according to the U.K. amounts to one-third of the world’s population, 80% are Christian.”
Rohrer is also a member of the Save the Persecuted Christians’ advisory board. Listen to the full program on the U.S. commitment to religious freedom worldwide here.
View the media page for APN here, which also details information about “Stand in the Gap.” For more information on APN, visit www.AmericanPastorsNetwork.net, its Facebook page or follow APN’s Twitter feed, @AmericanPastors. To form a state chapter of APN, contact email@example.com.