International (MNN) — A resolution could pass in the U.N.,
creating even more opportunities to persecute Christians worldwide.
The Defamation of Religions Resolution, which has been
introduced to the U.N. every year since 1998, "seeks to criminalize words or
actions that are deemed to be against a particular religion, namely Islam,"
according to Open Doors USA. The resolution will probably be brought up this
year in November or December.
While the resolution was previously called the "Defamation of
Islam," those introducing it changed the name to make it appear more general and make
people believe it would apply to all religions.
"What's interesting about this resolution is that it is being
introduced by the Organization of Islamic Conference," says Open Doors Advocacy Program Manager, Lindsey Vessey. "I think that
should tell you right up front that this is a group of 57 states with majority
or significant Muslim populations that are the real people behind the resolution."
In fact, in the text, Islam is the only religion protected.
Vessey, said this
could worsen the plight of Christians, especially in countries with Muslim
majorities. While the resolution is non-binding and countries can chose whether
or not to accept it, some countries, like Pakistan, passed it into national
This allows Muslims in the country to simply accuse
Christians of blasphemy, and they could be arrested without any evidence. Once
placed in prison, they could receive a life sentence or even the death penalty.
"Many Christians living in these countries are already severely
impacted by restricted laws–especially those living under strict sharia law,"
said Open Doors President/CEO Carl Moeller. "From the right to worship freely
to the ability to share the Gospel, the Defamation of Religions Resolution
threatens to justify local laws that already marginalize Christians. As
Americans, we have enjoyed a long tradition of religious liberty. The
Defamation of Religions Resolution is a blow against religious freedom."
Ultimately, it could make sharing the Gospel blasphemous,
and Christians in these countries could face arrest for sharing truths contradicting
But there's still hope, now more than ever.
"Last year was the very first year that the combined number
of votes against the resolution and … countries who abstained from voting totaled
more than those who voted in favor of it," Vessey said.
Because of this, they are launching their "Freedom to Believe"
Campaign to raise awareness in the U.N. of the number of people opposed to this
Vessey said Open Doors plans to put heavy pressure on the
countries who did not vote and those who voted "no." Through writing letters to countries,
they will inform them of what the resolution really means.
Another huge part of their campaign is a petition
available on the Open Doors Web site, opendoorsusa.org.
Vessey asked for as many people as possible to sign the
petition and to ask their friends and family to do so as well, to show the U.N. just how
many people are opposed to the resolution.