Christians in the U-S demonstrate as Vietnamese Prime Minister visits

By June 20, 2005

USA (MNN) — For the first time since the Vietnam War ended in 1975, Vietnam’s Prime Minister Phan Van Khai is in the United States this week. He’s in the U-S to talk about economic issues as well as cooperation on a range of bilateral, regional and international issues.

However, President of Open Doors, USA Carl Moeller would like President Bush to make religious freedom the main issue of the visit. “Vietnam is one of the worse persecutors of Christians worldwide. This is documented in our World Watch List, the 50 worst persecuting countries in the world. Vietnam ranks number three,” says Moeller.

Moeller says the tribal Christians are treated horribly. “All of these tribal peoples in Vietnam (are) absolutely a tragic human rights abuse situation. These people are hounded and forced to recant their faith, oftentimes at the threat of imprisonment or torture. And, Vietnam continues to flaunt international consensus on freedom of religion.”

Because the U-S government is so sensitive to religious freedom issues, Moeller is praying President Bush won’t trade economics for human rights, as the U-S did with China. “We’ve seen it with China, where we said, ‘Oh, if we give them economic freedom, they will reduce their persecution and human rights abuses.’ That has not happened.”

Vietnam has made similar pledges, but nothing has changed.

Moeller says while Christians are being attacked in Vietnam, the church is growing and thriving. “People under threat of death and imprisonment continue to evangelize their neighbors and their co-workers. The churches there are growing at a phenomenal rate.”

A demonstration is planned tomorrow in Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm to call for freedom and democracy in Vietnam as well as religious liberty.

Open Doors is asking believers worldwide to pray for these meetings. Pray that religious freedom issues will be discussed and evangelism can flourish in Vietnam. Pray, too for funding for Bibles and other Christian literature to help Christians grow in their faith so they can be even more effective in evangelism, church planting and discipleship.

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