My VIP for this week is Sam Brownback, America’s ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom. It is a role that he helped to create as a Senator in 1998. His quest is to end religious persecution and to convince “the world that religious freedom saves lives and strengthens economies.
Time is short. Every passing day finds more people persecuted, imprisoned, tortured and even killed for simply practicing their innermost convictions…. We cannot let this dire situation continue without an aggressive response.
There is much need for to end religious persecution because there is much religious persecution in the world. Kelsey Dallas explains the need in her article about Brownback.
And religious freedom is in need of advancing. More than 80 percent of the world’s population lives in a religiously restrictive environment, according to the Pew Research Center. Across the globe, people face job loss, jail time or death for practicing their faith.
In China, Uighur Muslims are sent to re-education camps and Protestant churches are bulldozed. In Russia, Jehovah’s Witnesses are jailed and missionary volunteers for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are sent home. In the Middle East, Christians are trying to rebuild their churches, which were ravaged by bombings and other violence.
Americans have their own problems with religious persecution. The fact that all the terrorists to attacked Americans in the United States or elsewhere were Muslims causes many Americans to view Muslims with suspicion. People with the intent to massacre large groups of people seem to seek out churches to do their evil deeds.
There is no need to be intolerant of religious beliefs different from our own. We are all children of the same Heavenly Father – no matter what we call Him – and He desires all of us to return to His presence. Our duty is to help each other to do so.