‘You Cannot Take Jesus Away from Us’
Iranian Christians Hold on to Savior Despite Extreme Persecution;
Save the Persecuted Christians Coalition Works to Help Persecuted Brothers and Sisters Around the World
WASHINGTON—Earlier this summer, two Iranian Christians testified at the State Department’s International Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom about a plight most Americans will never realize.
The Christian women from Iran pleaded with the world to “hear the cries of the Iranian people as they recounted their own ordeal of being imprisoned for their faith,” reported The Christian Post.
This incident is one of many that the Save the Persecuted Christians (STPC) Coalition is working to bring to light. The STPC Coalition advocates on behalf of 215 million Christians facing heavy persecution worldwide and works diligently to disseminate actionable information about ways in which the American people can help those like the people of Iran who are being persecuted for their faith.
Other disturbing stories also shed light on the very real dangers and struggles Christians in Iran face for their faith:
- According to Open Doors USA, which tracks Christian persecution worldwide, Iran is the No. 10 country on the World Watch List. Persecution for the 800,000 Christians there is categorized as “extreme.”
- Iran has been designated by the U.S. State Department as a Country of Particular Concern due to its severe abuse of Christians and other religious minority groups.
- Journalist Jamie Glazov recently revealed the case of an Iranian woman who received a 20-year prison sentence for protesting wearing a hijab.
- Fox News reports that Iranian Christians are in dire straits in the Islamic Republic because of a new wave of regime repression that has largely not registered in the media due to the country’s economic free fall and popular uprising by a people fed up with the tyrannical nature of the regime. According to Fox, “The mullahs have launched a cut-throat campaign to silence their opponents, and on top of their list are Iran’s persecuted Christians—an ancient people of the land the regime stigmatizes as a gateway to the West.”
“Every opportunity must be made to shine light on the Iranian regime, its treatment of Christians and the growing movement among its citizens rejecting it,” the Coalition said in a statement.
Raising awareness of Christian persecution in Iran and around the world is an important first step, especially as 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 Christians in Iran—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.