History is a witness that the church is an anvil that has worn out many hammers. African and Asian Christian minorities should back their prayers by action. They should empower themselves and become self-reliant for their safety and security.
Written by: Jeffrey S. Ram, Toronto, Canada, December 15, 2020
On Human Rights Day 2020 (December 10), the United Nations urged nations to 'create equal opportunities for all.' The majoritarian barbarian bullies laugh at such pious pronouncements that are made from time to time. Christian minorities continue to suffer violence every day in Africa and Asia. They are attacked and persecuted because they are poor, weak, and soft targets. The Christian victims seek and expect help from Christians of Western countries.
Some Western churches and Christians lobby for Christian and other religious minority victims of violence, and in a few cases, they also succeed. For example, Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy, is in Canada as a refugee. But efforts by Western Christians will take a long time to bear fruits. Therefore, Christian minorities will have to empower themselves to become self-reliant for their security.
International Efforts Against the Persecution of Religious Minorities:
The United States
Every year the U.S. Department of State's main Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) List and secondary level Special Watch List (SWL) name and shame governments that violate minorities' religious freedoms.
The U.S. State Department has designated Pakistan as a "country of particular concern" (CPC) for engaging in or tolerating egregious and systemic abuses of religious freedom. It has also added Nigeria to its Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) list.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) reviews the state of religious freedom annually internationally and makes policy recommendations.
The USCIRF had recommended in its 2020 report that India be put on the Special Watch List (SWL), but the U.S. State Department ignored the recommendation.
On December 7, 2020, the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan resolution urging the global repeal of blasphemy, heresy, and apostasy laws. A similar bill has been introduced in the Senate. This resolution has no power, but it shows the foreign policy intention of the elected leaders.
Ministerial to Advance Freedom of Religion or Belief
In 2018, the U.S. State Department initiated the Ministerial to Advance Freedom of Religion or Belief for various countries' top diplomats to protect religious freedom. The 2019 Ministerial in Washington, DC, was attended by nearly 1,000 delegates. The 2020 Ministerial was hosted online by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in November.
The International Freedom Alliance
Thirty-two nations have joined the International Freedom Alliance started in 2019 Ministerial.
European Community Human Rights Council
European Union also releases a Human Rights and Democracy in the World Report annually.
The U.N. Human Rights Council, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR), and many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) globally monitor human rights.
AND STILL, THE PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIAN AND OTHER RELIGIOUS MINORITIES CONTINUES UNABATED.
The 2020 Report of Open Doors, a prominent charity for victimized Christians, states: "Persecution is real. It is a daily reality for more than 260 million Christians worldwide." The report also expressed concern that Christianity continues to disappear from Iraq and Syria due to conflict and instability.
According to the Open Doors World Watch List, the five most dangerous countries for Christians are 1. North Korea 2. Afghanistan 3. Somalia 4. Libya 5. Pakistan
PRAY, BE STRONG, AND SELF-EMPOWER
Christian minorities should not get discouraged by their circumstances. Bible repeatedly inspires: "take courage," "be strong and courageous," "do not fear," and "do not be anxious." Jesus said, "Everything is possible for him who believes." He also assured, "All things are possible with God." History is a witness that the church is an anvil that has worn out many hammers. African and Asian Christian minorities should back their prayers by action. They should empower themselves and become self-reliant for their safety and security.
So, how can the Christian minorities empower themselves?
(Read the next blog, "Christian Minorities Empowerment Plan," to be published on January 19, 2021.)
MAY THE JOY OF JESUS BE YOURS THIS CHRISTMAS SEASON AND THROUGHOUT THE COMING NEW YEAR.
(Reform Advocate/ WorldChristian blog is published on the Tuesday of the third week every month)
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