Asia (MNN) — In a web article by World Watch Monitor, China Aid, a partner of Voice of the Martyrs, reported an increase in faith-based persecution in Asia-Pacific, leading to a talk about religious freedom.
Why is this now an issue that needs to be addressed? Well, as it turns out, being free to have individual beliefs happens to build up nations which are currently divided because of religious beliefs.
In Thailand, at the first Asia-Pacific Religious Forum ever held, people representing charities, international NGOs, and others who wanted to promote religious freedom, attended from 26 different countries.
The president of U.S.-based Freedom House, Mark P. Lagon, declared the following:
“Commitment to establish and reinforce networks of advocates dedicated to promoting freedom of religion or belief in their respective countries and in the Asia-Pacific region, including the creation of both governmental and non-governmental mechanisms to promote freedom of religion.”
Others, including China Aid President Bob Fu, are calling this declaration a much-needed map for anyone wishing to one day see a free world.
Furthermore, the United States Commission on International Freedom (USCIFR) Commissioner Katrina Lantos Sweets offers support by stating, “No society can build a future without providing freedom of conscience to its people. For this reason, free exercise of religion is the first guaranteed freedom in the United States.”
As it turns out, being free to believe is about more than not being killed for your faith; it’s about building a country. And for Christians, persecution doesn’t extinguish their faith; it usually inflames it.
Still, in this instance, religious freedom in the Asia-Pacific area could open many closed doors for the Gospel. Only time will tell what God will decide to allow.
Please pray that these countries will soon see the day where individuals will not be persecuted for having different beliefs. Pray that God’s will is made know. Pray also for doors to be opened for the Gospel to be heard and believed.