Canada (MNN) – It’s been over a month now since Canada has been without its Office for Religious Freedom.
Some say this will not only increase persecution of Christians, but will hurt human rights as a whole. Gerald Chipeur, an allied attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom legal group, believes the two issues are directly correlated.
“The reality is this: that in countries where religious freedom is not protected, you will find most other freedoms are also not protected,” he said in an article by Catholic News Agency. “In fact, there is a direct correlation between the guarantees of religious freedom and the guarantees of other human rights and democracy.
“Religious freedom is the most important discussion one can have. You can talk about trade, defense, and other issues, but if you aren’t first talking about religious freedom, then you will miss a very important opportunity to promote human rights and democracy.”
The Voice of the Martyrs Canada is one organization that has been vocal about this issue. CEO Doug McKenzie says though it’s too early to tell exactly how things will play out, difficulties for Christians are expected to increase.
“We expect that this could lead to a different form of persecution in Canada, where there will be more stresses on the system and on those why are trying to live out their faith on a daily basis,” he says.
VOM Canada fights tirelessly to defend the cause of persecuted Christians. It currently has 50 missions projects in about 30 different countries, where it works to provide relief for suffering believers through safe houses and micro loans. But not only that:
“The other thing we do in response to that is to bring their story and tell their story by infusing it into the heart of the Canadian church, hoping and believing by what we have seen that this story of persecution and victory over death, which most of those who are being persecuted can claim, that it has a very profound effect on the church of Christ, particularly in North America, and in our case, with our focus in Canada,” McKenzie says.
Now, with the government’s most recent blow to religious freedom, VOM Canada is considering taking an extra step, sometime in the next six months, in an effort to put themselves in a more advantageous position of influence.
“We’re actually looking now at the prospect of establishing an Ottawa Bureau for The Voice of the Martyrs Canada,” McKenzie says. “And this bureau would look around the world and bring forward information to the members of Parliament and groups like the foreign affairs committee on a regular basis.
“Not only things that are happening in the world which are known just through news media in general, but to bring forward information that we cannot publish but that could be useful to politicians and members of Parliament in helping them think through or to be guided in the plotting of the trajectories of events that could happen and the things that they need to be aware of.”
Can you support VOM Canada as it defends religious freedom and fights for persecuted believers? Pray that this organization would be effective in providing hope and meeting the needs of Christians in danger. You can learn more about its ministry and find more specific prayer needs by signing up for one of its monthly newsletters.
If you’re in the U.S., you can learn more about VOM Canada’s sister organization by clicking here.