Middle East (MNN) – Yesterday was Human Rights Day which has been around for nearly 70 years. It marks the day when the United Nations established the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Today, Open Doors USA is drawing attention to a specific instance where human rights need to improve.
Over the last few months, the organization has been collecting signatures in their “Hope for the Middle East Campaign.” As of last week, they had gathered well over 800,000 signatures. The petition urges support for Christians in the Middle East, particularly Syria and Iraq, especially in light of the major rebuild that is just beginning in the war-torn nations. They will present the signatures to the UN Secretary-General and his office.
“So many Christians have been displaced and pushed out of their homes in the Middle East. And we want them to be part of their communities. What we’re really asking is that Christians have the same rights in civil society as everybody else, are part of the restoration and reconciliation within their countries—Iraq and Syria. Christians need to be part of that. And that they have a right to housing, you know, the basics of life and that they should not be discriminated upon in Iraq and Syria and the Middle East just because of their faith in Jesus.”
More specifically, the petition asks three things:
- The right to equal citizenship
- Dignified living conditions
- Involvement in reconciling and rebuilding their society
Why it matters to be a voice for the voiceless
The petition was created after Open Doors surveyed Christians in the Middle East on what their greatest needs were going forward.
Curry says the petition is not just about creating a bill and establishing international pressure on the issue, but also to create awareness of the situation and draw the Body of Christ into advocacy.
He explains that if we miss this opportunity to direct change going forward, we’ll be feeding into a negative cycle of oppression in the Middle East. Now is the time for action. But, he says, this isn’t just a calling for some portions of the Church, but all.
“The entire Body of Christ has been called to pray for and to reach out and care for people who are in prison for the name of Jesus. So it’s a universal calling; I think it’s important to recognize that. And so, when we are advocating, caring for, speaking out for people who are followers of Jesus, we are doing what the Lord has asked us to do. We are being obedient.”
While there is time
Another factor that can seem far away in the west is our own connection with persecution. Curry reminds us that it doesn’t take much stretching of the imagination to see how persecution could quickly hit home.
“Eventually this persecution may come to you and some of your family. And we need to recognize that we wish somebody would speak out on our behalf, this is our chance to do it for our brothers and sisters around the world.
“And it’s not a long stretch to imagine that persecution could increase in the west, that laws could be passed… all kinds of things which are going to be used to paint Christians as intolerant and all these sorts of things. That’s only going to grow. Aggressive secularism is going to impinge upon the rights of Christians over time, certainly.
“Wouldn’t you like to know that people around the world are going to be thinking and praying and lifting you up when your time comes? Absolutely, you would. That’s why we need to reach out and care for our brothers and sisters around the world.”
Learn more about this petition, here. And pray. Ask God to create a ripple effect among the Church and peoples of influence. Ask God to strengthen the foundation of believers in the Middle East so that those who haven’t heard of Jesus before can know him.