Persecution of Christians Expected to Rise in 2019
Newly Organized Save the Persecuted Christians Organization Will Advocate for 300 Million Believers Under Attack Worldwide in 2019
WASHINGTON—The newly organized Save the Persecuted Christians (STPC) organization is rejoicing today at the news that the acquittal of Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian woman charged with blasphemy and put on death row, will stand. The wife and mother will indeed be a free woman once she can escape to safety.
But Bibi’s victory is not shared by millions of other Christians worldwide. And as if the harrowing stories of worldwide Christian persecution in 2018 weren’t enough, persecution is expected to rise in 2019.
According to a new report in The Christian Post, even more believers in Jesus Christ could face attacks, violence or worse this year. Save the Persecuted Christians, which began as a coalition in early 2018, will continue to advocate for hundreds of millions of Christians—300 million globally who face brutal persecution.
“Christian persecution is a global epidemic, the worst it’s been in decades, and heightening,” said Dede Laugesen, executive director of Save the Persecuted Christians. “But today, Christians in the U.S. have opportunity to not only hear about the persecution of their brothers and sisters in Christ, but what they can do about it—by raising awareness, sharing stories of suffering on social media and giving to and volunteering for organizations that can help.”
The Christian Post pointed to a report by Release International, which communicated that Nigeria is a particular area for concern and that there is a “deliberate plan to destroy and take over the predominantly Christian communities in the region,” where Christians are facing a “strategic modern-day jihad.” Likewise, the Christian Association of Nigeria and church denominational heads added that what is happening in Nigeria is “pure genocide and must be stopped immediately.”
STPC is fully aware of the immense persecution being waged against Christians in Nigeria. In fact, as a tangible act to this advocacy for persecuted Christians, STPC is urgently calling for a Special Envoy to Nigeria and the Lake Chad region to help stave off further, destabilizing violence against Christians there.
Release International also mentioned that the Communist government of China as another area of grave concern, where new rules on regulating religion mean crackdowns on churches, pastors and congregations throughout the country. And in India, “violent radical mobs have stormed prayer meetings, ransacked churches, and beaten believers.”
The mission of the new Save the Persecuted Christians organization is to save lives and save souls by holding the persecutors accountable and creating costs for their crimes against humanity. To that end, it will disseminate actionable information about the magnitude of such crimes and bring to bear a movement of concerned Americans determined to hold persecutors accountable for such crimes and create real costs for perpetrating them against those who follow Jesus.
In 2018, the Save the Persecuted Christians Coalition shipped more than 1,000 “SaveUs” banners to houses of worship around the country. Nearly 2,000 also now subscribe to the STPC website to receive news and action items regarding persecution. Its advisory board of faith leaders, human rights and religious freedom activists and charitable relief organizations has grown to over 130 members.
Additionally, the “People of the Cross” exhibit, a series of vertical, traveling banners, has toured the country exposing tens of thousands to their powerful messages concerning the widespread nature of Christian persecution. A majority of the countries highlighted in the banners are high on the 2019 World Watch List. Learn more about the exhibit here.
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’s 2019 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 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 developed a dedicated news aggregator—www.ChristianPersecutionNews.com—to capture current instances of persecution and to provide readers 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 intends to provide American policymakers with the support they need to effect real change worldwide and alleviate systemically the suffering being experienced by so many of those following Christ.