Bible Burning, Surveillance, Anti-Conversion Laws: Persecution is escalating!
U.S. Lawmakers are taking a serious look at rising attacks on religious freedom abroad, holding a hearing recently that had rare bipartisan support.
House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee leaders say they’re more concerned than ever about religious persecution worldwide.
Half of the world’s population can’t freely practice their faith. That’s why there’s a call for America to apply more pressure on two specific countries about adhering to human rights.
The world’s largest democracy, India, was called out for its worsening religious nationalism.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), said, “Government actions, including the passage and enforcement of discriminatory policies such as hijab bans, anti-conversion laws, and anti-cow slaughter laws, have created a culture of impunity for threats and violence by vigilante groups, especially against Muslims and Christians.”
During the hearing about the dire state of religious freedom, USCIRF declared the State Department is not on the same page when it comes to Nigeria and India.
Cooper said, “Sadly, Nigeria has become a country steeped in religious freedom violations, where people of faith, and those of no faith at all, live increasingly in fear of harassment, imprisonment, and violence.”
In a joint press conference in June, President Joe Biden gave India’s prime minister a chance to defend democracy.
At the time, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “This is regardless of caste, greed, religion, gender…” agreeing there’s no place for religious discrimination.
The reality on the ground is quite different. A new report indicates religious persecution against India’s Christians has nearly doubled.
Rep. Chris Smith also pointed to China where the Chinese Communist Party employs Bible burning, torture, and facial recognition to intimidate worshippers in churches.
On CBN’s Faith Nation, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said the U.S. should step up.
“We had Treasury Secretary; we had the Secretary of State in China. Were these issues discussed? We don’t know that they were. There certainly were not on the record as being discussed and I doubt that they were discussed,” Perkins said.
Committee leaders are urging the State Department to designate Nigeria, India and Vietnam as “countries of particular concern.”
Their violations of the International Religious Freedom Act can make them subject to U.S. sanctions.
Rep. Christopher Smith, chairman of the Subcommittee on Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations, said, “No diplomacy ought to get in the way of calling it for what it is. If a country is engaging in serious religious persecution, they need to be designated countries of particular concern.”
Still, experts expressed some hope and progress on other fronts. USCIRF applauds the State Department’s public condemnation of two key countries for increased religious persecution in 2022: Nicaragua and Vietnam.
This issue is a matter for serious prayer across the world. Jesus warned us about these last days and the price we will pay for remaining faithful to Him – but I fear that most disciples in the complacent western Church are simply not prepared for what is coming.