Friday, January 11, 2013

The Persecuted Church

Gary L. Bauer
American Values

Kudos to Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA). Once again, Rep. Wolf is taking the lead on an issue that gets too little attention -- the persecution of Christians around the world. Many are frustrated by the silence in Washington when it comes to Christian persecution overseas.

But what is most infuriating to Rep. Wolf and me is the silence of the Christian church in America. Yesterday, Rep. Wolf sent an outstanding letter to 300 Catholic and Protestant leaders urging them to speak out on this incredibly important issue. Here are some excerpts:

"Every day around the world, men and women of faith are imprisoned, beaten, detained, tortured and even killed. … Have we in the West ceased to be salt and light? … Has our comfort led to complacency? Can the church in the West be galvanized to act?

"A phrase not often heard outside the majority Muslim world is 'First the Saturday people, then the Sunday people.'  The 'Saturday people' are of course the Jews.  Their once vibrant communities in countries throughout the region are now decimated. … "Over the span of a few decades, the Middle East, with the exception of Israel, was virtually emptied of Jews.  The same thing will happen to the Christian community if the current trajectory holds true.  And yet, the silence of many in the West is deafening.  Such stories receive scant attention in the mainstream media, and perhaps more strikingly, are rarely spoken of from our pulpits."

Often folks will respond to my daily reports by asking, "What can we do?" Sometimes it is difficult to suggest action items. But not this time.

Does your priest or pastor speak up about religious persecution overseas? If not, urge him to find his voice.

Does your church have a committee that keeps up with public policy issues, especially those that affect religious liberty? If not, start one. (Religious persecution is a growing concern here at home as well!)

In the coming days, Rep. Wolf will be introducing legislation to create a special envoy within the State Department charged with defending religious minorities around the globe. If you would like to encourage Rep. Wolf, feel free to email your messages directly to me and I will personally deliver them to his office.