Turkey (MNN) — A European court ruled ordered Turkey to remove the
religious affiliation section from citizens' identification cards.
The court ruled that the presence of the "religion" box on the Turkish
national identification card obliges individuals to disclose, against their
will, information concerning an aspect of their personal convictions.
Until 2006, the Turkish government required citizens to put their faith
under the "Religion" section of their ID cards. Often, those who had "Christian"
in that blank found themselves targeted for harassment, threats, and
The court's ruling is good news for Christians, says Rody
Rodeheaver with I.N. Network, especially since the Turkish government appears to be ready to
comply. "That line forces them to the back fo the line when they're
applying for a job, or wanting their kids to get into a particular class at
school–all of those kinds of things are affected by this. It is discrimination."
Turkish believers have long lived with discrimination–the hostile
atmosphere makes sharing the Gospel challenging, but not impossible.
Since 2001, I.N. Network's team has been focused on church planting and
evangelism in Turkey. The
I.N. Network Turkey also works with Internet Evangelism; they've developed a
forum for online chat with those who do not know Christ, inviting them to the
truth. Those who expressed a deeper
interest are invited to meetings and receive materials for personal study.
The doors are open. What started as a small church ministry has
grown to the point where that church is ready to release a limited number of its
members to become involved in a full-time ministry.
Among their more ambitious 2010 goals
are plans to have local churches in 50 provinces, have 10,000 believers, and to
have Turkish evangelists trained and sent to other countries with Turkish
Rodeheaver calls the court's decision an "answer to prayer." "It's our prayer that this allows
Christians and future converts to Christianity not to be persecuted to the
degree that they have been in the past."
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