Faithful Worldwide Recognize Persecuted Brothers and Sisters on Special Observance Thursday
Save the Persecuted Christians Works to Raise Awareness About Those Under Attack for Their Faith—Especially Women and Children
WASHINGTON—Tomorrow, Aug. 22, has been set aside as the “International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief.” For Save the Persecuted Christians (STPC), which advocates on behalf of hundreds of millions of persecuted Christians worldwide, it is an important observation that will help create awareness about ongoing violence against people worldwide for their faith.
Through resolution A/RES/73/xx, the United Nations General Assembly designated the day to recognize the “importance of providing victims of acts of violence based on religion or belief and members of their families with appropriate support and assistance in accordance with applicable law.” Furthermore, the UN says it strongly deplores all acts of violence against people based on their faith on the basis of their religion or belief, as well as any such acts directed against their homes, businesses, properties, schools, cultural centers or places of worship.
Dede Laugesen, executive director of Save the Persecuted Christians, says women and children are the most vulnerable to religious persecution, although the violence does not discriminate by gender, nationality, income or social status.
“Women and children are often marginalized in the cultures where religious violence is rampant,” Laugesen said. “Therefore, they are more at risk for capture, violence, displacement or worse. Save the Persecuted Christians stands up for all those who are persecuted for their faith, but many women have no one in their corners who will advocate for their protection. When it comes to raising awareness, time is of the essence for those experiencing persecution. Advocates can take advantage of the focus on public policy this fall to make the imperative of alleviating their plight an issue to be addressed by those who are, or hope to be, our leaders.”
To this end, Laugesen added, Save the Persecuted Christians has created a new traveling exhibit titled “Warfare on Women,” which tells the stories of the brave women whose lives have been fractured by religious-based violence by being auctioned, beaten, kidnapped, raped and indentured, among many other atrocities.
“Women and children bear the brunt of heavy persecution afflicting an estimated 300 million Christians worldwide,” the opening banner in the exhibit reads. “Women are targeted increasingly for violence that punishes their faith, destroys their dignity, robs their identity and strikes fear in their communities. In a growing number of countries, Christian women face many forms of discrimination and violence including: restrictions on freedom of dress and movement, employment and legal discrimination, violent assault, widowhood, forced abortions or death of children, false accusations, sexual harassment, forced conversion and marriage, kidnapping, rape, human trafficking and murder. If they survive and return, brutalized women and girls often face shame and exclusion from their families and communities. This must end.”
For the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief, the U.S. International Religious Freedom (IRF) Roundtable, on which many STPC Advisory Board members serve, is also encouraging Americans who are concerned about international religious persecution to contact members of Congress urging them to commemorate the day and take action for persecuted individuals worldwide. A sample email is offered for this purpose.
The mission of Save the Persecuted Christians is to save lives and save souls by disseminating actionable information about the magnitude of the persecution taking place globally and by mobilizing concerned Americans for the purpose of disincentivizing further attacks on those who follow Jesus.
Save the Persecuted Christians also works to educate about persecution around the world through another exhibit titled “The People of the Cross,” a series of vertical traveling banners that feature images, facts and quotes from recent news stories about the persecution of Christians in multiple countries, such as China, where Communists are increasingly hostile to people of faith and churches are demolished; Syria, where Christian girls and women have been sold into sex slavery; and Nigeria and East Africa, where terrorists are exterminating Christians with genocidal intent. A majority of the countries highlighted in the banners are high on Open Doors’ 2019 World Watch List.
“The People of the Cross” exhibit has toured the United States, reaching tens of thousands. Both Save the Persecuted Christians exhibits are available for churches, public venues and special events. To learn more about hosting a traveling exhibit contact Save the Persecuted Christians or visit the website, where panels are available to view online.
According to Aid to the Church in Need, which released its biannual report on Religious Freedom in the World in November, over 300 million Christians experience persecution. According to Open Doors USA World Watch List, 245 million Christians are victims of high to extreme levels of persecution (i.e., torture, rape, sex-slavery, expulsion, murder and genocide), an increase of 14 percent over 2018. Open Doors also estimates 1 in 9 of the world’s Christians experience persecution and that every month: 345 Christians are killed, often in public and without regard to gender or age; 219 Christians are abducted and imprisoned indefinitely without trial; and 106 churches are demolished.
Because most of these crimes are not covered in the media, Save the Persecuted Christians has developed a dedicated news aggregator—www.ChristianPersecutionNews.com—to capture current instances of persecution and to provide readers with an easy way to share these heartbreaking stories with others.
With so much of the world’s Christian population being attacked, imprisoned and/or exiled for their beliefs, the need has never been greater for the sort of grassroots campaign STPC’s SaveUs Movement is working to foster. Its efforts are modeled after a miraculously successful one that helped free another population suffering from heavy persecution—Soviet Jews—by penalizing those in the Kremlin responsible for such repression. Through this movement, Save the Persecuted Christians endeavors to provide American policymakers with the popular support they need to effect real change worldwide and alleviate systemically the suffering being experienced by so many of those following Christ.