Half a world away on Christmas Eve, Christians in Nigerian churches were celebrating the peace of Christ, when gunman broke through the doors at midnight and opened fire. Twelve people were killed in their pews before attackers set fire to the building and shattered the silent night. It was one of many bloodbaths that have taken the lives of Christians–not just in Western Africa, but around the world.
While the walls of religious freedom may be closing in on followers of Christ in our own country, we have not begun to taste of the suffering our brothers and sisters are experiencing all across the world. For them, the cost of conviction is counted in lives. In places such as Iraq, Egypt, Syria, China, North Korea, or Pakistan, picking up your cross is not a right but a death sentence.
Congressman Frank Wolf (R-Va.) has invested years of his career elevating the cause of the persecuted church. He understands, as we do, that people in other countries depend on America to lead by example on issues like the sanctity of life and religious freedoms. He is pleading with churches to take up the cause.
In a letter to 300 Protestant and Catholic ministers, Congressman Wolf looks to the leaders of the West to pick up the torch. Once vibrant communities of Christians and Jews are being decimated, he writes. Sixty years ago, there were 150,000 Jews in Iraq, “today, less than 10 remain.” Christians, he writes, “have been targeted, believers kidnapped for ransom, and families threatened with violence, if they stay.” We can not remain silent!
On Wednesday, January 16, President Obama is scheduled to declare Religious Freedom Day. Contact your Congressional representative today and ask him or her to recognize Religious Freedom Day by standing up and speaking out for the persecuted believers–everywhere.