Save the Persecuted Christians Coalition Experiences Remarkable Reach and Growth in 2018
But With Growing Christian Persecution Worldwide, Much Work Is Left to Do
WASHINGTON—Hundreds of millions of Christians worldwide experienced terrible persecution, including violence, incarceration, forced conversion and loss of family and property, for their faith in Jesus Christ in 2018. Some even made the ultimate sacrifice—their life.
Since February 2018, the Save the Persecuted Christians (STPC) Coalition has been advocating on behalf of the 215 million persecuted Christians around the globe. Through blessings, growth and tireless work from concerned brothers and sisters in Christ, the Coalition was able to make incredible strides for these persecuted Christians and create awareness about their plight.
“For example,” said Dede Laugesen, executive director of the Save the Persecuted Christians Coalition, “members helped spread the word about the imprisonment of Pastor Andrew Brunson and Pakistani Christian Asia Bibi, who were both released in 2018. The Coalition’s recommendation to leaders to impose heavy costs on the persecutors and to hold them accountable for their crimes is making a difference.”
Other initiatives and victories included the following:
“Save Us Banners”
One of the simple and economical ways Americans can render support for persecuted Christians is by encouraging their pastors and faith leaders to visit www.SavethePersecutedChristians.org and to order a free banner to display in front of their houses of worship. These simple banners feature a graphic “Save Us” plea with a cross and the coalition’s website where Americans can learn about the global persecution of Christians and find out more about what they can do to help stop it.
More than 1,000 banners were shipped to houses of worship in 2018 and nearly 2,000 now subscribe to the Save the Persecuted Christians website to receive news and action items regarding persecution. The advisory board of faith leaders and other civil society leaders has grown to over 130 members.
People of the Cross Exhibit
The Coalition also seeks to bring awareness about Christians worldwide who are being kidnapped, abused, arrested or murdered through the “The People of the Cross” exhibit, a series of vertical traveling banners that details Christian persecution in various countries around the world. Banners feature images, facts and quotes from current news stories about the persecution of Christians in multiple countries, such as: North Korea, where Christians are tortured, brutally incarcerated or worse; Syria, where Christian girls and women have been sold into sex slavery; East Africa, where terrorists are exterminating Christians with genocidal intent; Nigeria where two of the world’s most violent terrorist groups surround and slaughter entire villages of Christians; and China, where Communists are increasingly hostile to people of faith and churches and shrines are being demolished.
Since the debut of the exhibit at the U.S. Capitol as a side event to the U.S. Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom in July, the banners have toured the United States and were featured at 21 events in 10 states, reaching an audience of at least 14,500. Learn more about the exhibit here.
However, Laugesen noted, persecution remains rampant around the globe, and so much work is left to do.
- Two young Scandinavian women, Louisa Jespersen, 24, and Maren Ueland, 28, were beheaded by ISIS in Morocco just before Christmas.
- American adventurer and evangelist John Allen Chau, 26, was killed on a remote Indian island in November while trying to share the Gospel.
- Kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirl Leah Sharibu, 15, remains in captivity by Boko Haram. The STPC Coalition will be working to #FreeLeahSharibu in 2019.
- Throughout December, the Coalition actively urged the Trump administration to appoint a U.S. special envoy to the Nigeria/Lake Chad region of Africa to help protect Christians who are being murdered, kidnapped and attacked in what many are calling “pure genocide.” The effort is ongoing after a Dec. 19 news conference on Capitol Hill featuring impassioned remarks by Nigerian Archbishop Benjamin Kwashi and former Rep. Frank Wolf. View and send the letter by clicking here.
Especially in light of immense global oppression, raising awareness about Christian persecution is crucial, as violence toward and imprisonment of Christians occurs so routinely it rarely makes the news. For example, according to Open Doors, 255 Christians are killed worldwide every month. 104 Christians are abducted. 180 Christian women are raped, sexually assaulted or forced into marriage. 160 Christians are detained or imprisoned without trial. And 66 churches are attacked. Every month.
With such staggering statistics, and the knowledge that most of these crimes are not covered in the media, the STPC Coalition developed a dedicated news aggregator—www.ChristianPersecutionNews.com—to capture current instances of persecution that do make the news and to provide readers an easy way to share these heartbreaking stories with others.
With so much of the world’s population attacked, imprisoned or exiled for their beliefs, the need for the movement of the STPC Coalition has never been greater. Its efforts are modeled after a campaign that helped free another population suffering from heavy persecution, Soviet Jews, by holding its persecutors in the Kremlin accountable and imposing real costs for its repression of people of faith. The Coalition’s movement in our time aims to provide American policymakers with the popular support they need to effect real change worldwide and alleviate the suffering of those persecuted simply because they follow Jesus Christ.