Former Congressman Frank Wolf is one who never minces words, and this time he directs them to the church, reminding them that nearly 300 million Christians live under daily religious persecution with an average of 16 being martyred for their faith every day. The International Religious Freedom Summit, a three-day, in-person and online event will be held July 13-15 in Washington, D.C. to trumpet this cause.
"I am disappointed in the church, and I am concerned about the silence of the church as hundreds of millions of fellow Christians suffer for their faith and are martyred daily," Wolf says. "Waiting for the right time to act is not an option, and as we look at all the persecution taking place, are we being more cautious than courageous? Are we willing to risk imprisonments for what we believe?"
Wolf does not speak in a vacuum as he, along with others, worked to pass the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act, which created the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom and the Ambassador For International Religious Freedom to monitor religious freedom worldwide as official policy of the United States government.
Wolf quotes Scripture to show the biblical mandate for standing for the persecuted, including:
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed" Luke 4:18).
""Remember those who are in chains, as if imprisoned with them, and those who are ill treated, since you are also in the body" (Heb. 13:3).
"Again I saw all types of oppression that are done under the sun: Look! The tears of the oppressed, and no one was there to comfort them. And there was force from the hand of the oppressors, and no one was there to comfort them" (Eccl. 4:1).
The International Society for Human Rights estimates that worldwide, Christians are targets of about 80% of all acts of religious persecution. In the top 50 countries on the 2020 World Watch list from Open Doors, 260 million Christians are persecuted for their religious beliefs, up from 245 million in 2019. A 2018 Pew Research study found that the number of countries where Christians are persecuted remains on the rise, reaching 144 in 2016.
In 2016 the Center for the Study of Global Christianity published a report that between 2005 and 2015 there were approximately 900,000 Christian martyrs worldwide which comes out to nearly 90,000 Christians per year, or one every six minutes.
Many use the 80/80/57/2 rule tp characterize the state of religious persecution in the world, with approximately 80% of all persecution toward Christians and approximately 80% of that persecution happening in Mohammedan countries. Fifty-seven nations in the Organization of Islamic Unity (OIC) are charged to protect these, but only two countries, Hungary and Poland, are charged with protecting Christians.
One Mohammedan, who did not want his name used, said, "We have a problem within our own institutions and need to be taking care of the various divisions within our own religion by ourselves, and such efforts, of course well-meaning, take our leaders off the hook in taking care of these internal problems."
He continued, "While we appreciate the efforts of Christians to appear to be broad-minded and being afraid to be seen as helping only Christians, it is a fact that the vast majority of the persecution is toward Christians, so they should concentrate on their fellow believers and encourage the OIC and other such groups within the Mohammedan community to care for the various internal theological disputes within our own religion, which are not equivalent to what Christians experience worldwide and are not 'persecution.'"
"The church is not a social club, and if we do not get back to the days when the church had a once-a-year 'persecuted Church November' and other such efforts, we share the burden for their suffering," Wolf says in a strong admonition to the church. "I encourage all fellow believers to 'pray, speak, educate and act' on behalf of the 300 million fellow Christians who live under persecution and die daily for their faith."
From July 13-15, the International Religious Freedom Summit, irfsummit.com, will gather world leaders in Washington, D.C. to discuss, organize and push forward efforts worldwide for religious freedom, with organization sponsors and individual attendance still encouraged.
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