As we remain committed to protecting religious liberties across the country, it is important to remember that there are millions of believers around the globe who face life-threatening persecution on a daily basis. It’s not surprising then, to discover that a record amount of Christians—as many as 7,000—were executed for their faith last year, according to an annual report by Open Doors USA. The number reflects a 50 percent increase over the previous year and the highest number since statistics have been tracked.
The worst culprit on the list was North Korea, where an estimated 70,000 of the nation’s 300,000 Christians are now imprisoned in labor camps. Those still free remain so by hiding their faith, even from family members.
While North Korea tops the list of the 10 worst countries when it comes to expression of Christianity, the remaining nine are all Muslim countries.
Second on the list was Iraq, where ISIS has systematically targeted Christian believers through genocide and forced conversions. The remaining countries on the Top 10 list are Eritrea, Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, Iran and Libya.
David Curry, President and CEO of Open Doors said the United States must spearhead efforts to bring about change. “As the dominant power in the free world, (the U.S.) must lead the charge in bringing more relief and aid to those suffering.”
Fortunately, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is not waiting for the government to act. The global ministry has announced it will hold a summit on religious persecution in Moscow this October in conjunction with the Russian Orthodox Church.
“The World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians will shed a global spotlight on this crisis,” said Rev. Franklin Graham during his March 9 announcement. “We will bring delegates from around the world and will be able to join hands with people of other churches and denominations of the Christian faith to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ and to hear firsthand reports of the suffering that is taking place.”