Save the Persecuted Christians Coalition Rejoices as Pastor Andrew Brunson Is Moved to House Arrest
After Being Imprisoned Since October 2016, Brunson No Longer in Jail Cell
WASHINGTON—Along with Christians and other faith-based groups, the Save the Persecuted Christians (STPC) Coalition is rejoicing at the movement of imprisoned North Carolina pastor Andrew Brunson from his jail cell to house arrest. The Christian Post and other outlets reported the good news last evening. Brunson has been detained by the government of Turkey since the fall of 2016 on false accusations of “spying” and “aiding terror groups.”
“Yesterday, members of the Save the Persecuted Christians Coalition, who just the day before had heard Pastor Brunson’s daughter, Jacqueline Funari, talk about the suffering she and her family have endured, were among those with Deputy Secretary John Sullivan and Ambassador Sam Brownback at the U.S. Ministerial, on their feet cheering and celebrating Pastor Brunson’s release,” reported STPC Coalition member Dede Laugesen.
“In the room, with all the shouts of gladness, Brunson’s release was recognized as an immediate response to the power of the Ministerial to call foul on countries like Turkey who attack and abuse people of faith,” she added. “We are encouraged by his release and look forward to seeing other countries fall into line behind the United States administration in advancing this important and fundamental right to live one’s faith without fear.”
At Brunson’s hearing on July 18, the Turkish court had ruled to keep the pastor in prison, at least until his next hearing Oct. 12. Several days later, however, Brunson was released on house arrest—a hopeful sign.
Millions of Christians are praying for Brunson’s release, and groups such as the STPC Coalition are working to bring him home. The Trump administration has also been active, and the American Center for Law and Justice also started a petition on Brunson’s behalf, at this point signed by nearly 600,000.
The STPC Coalition, which advocates on behalf of 215 million Christians facing heavy persecution worldwide, continues to work diligently to disseminate actionable information about ways in which the American people can help those like Pastor Brunson who are being persecuted for their faith.
Raising awareness is an important first step, especially as Christian persecution occurs so routinely it rarely makes headlines. 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 special news aggregator—www.ChristianPersecutionNews.com—to capture those present-day stories of persecution that do make the news and to provide Coalition members an easy way to share these heartbreaking stories with others.
One of the ways Americans can render support is by encouraging their pastors and faith leaders to visit www.SaveThePersecutedChristians.org and 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 the violence.
With so much of the world’s population attacked, imprisoned or exiled for their beliefs – much like Pastor Brunson has been – the time is fitting for the work of the STPC Coalition. The Coalition is a building movement like one in the 1970s that helped free another population suffering from heavy persecution—Soviet Jews—so as to impel policy changes that will hold the persecutors accountable and increase the costs for their crimes against humanity. Building such a movement is necessary to provide American policymakers the leverage needed to influence change worldwide and to alleviate the suffering of those who are being persecuted merely because of their faith in Jesus Christ.