Persecution of Christians worldwide has become such a significant issue that Release International, Open Doors, Christian Solidarity Worldwide and the Evangelical Alliance have joined together to form the Religious Liberty Commission.
The Religious Liberty Commission (RLC) exists to speak up for Christians who are persecuted because of their faith. While it has this specific mandate to speak up for Christians, it strongly believes in the rights of all people, of any faith or none, to have freedom of religion or belief, including the freedom to convert.
The RLC was officially launched on 4 February 2015 at a service at the Palace of Westminster led by the Most Rev and Rt Hon Justin Welby. The Archbishop of Canterbury said he welcomed the coordination of voices speaking out against persecution under the one banner of the RLC, adding: "I echo warmly the RLC's encouragement for religious and political leaders to speak out in unison against any violation of freedom of religion."
The audiences for the RLC are the Church, the state and the media. Where it is possible to speak up to government on behalf of all minorities in a given situation, without losing effectiveness for the Christians, it may do so.
The RLC is a collaboration of several organisations and is born out of relationships held for many years. It does not in any way replace the work of the member organisations, and the members will only speak together as the RLC on issues of strategic importance for the future of the Church – in particular, if it feels that the topic or issue is not attracting sufficient attention by other means.
While the RLC enables the member organisations to speak as one voice for persecuted Christians, it does not claim to be the only voice – and very much welcomes the fact that others are also doing excellent work in this area.
International Day of Prayer
Each November the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP) takes place, and the Religious Liberty Commission is encouraging churches across the UK to take this opportunity to unite in prayer for persecuted Christians. IDOP 2015 will take place on Sunday, 15 November, and more resources will be available here nearer the time on our dedicated IDOP web page: eauk.org/idop2015.
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The RLC has produced a video encouraging churches and Christians to pray. On the video a persecuted Christian, Florence from Nigeria, explains the desperate need for Christians to pray: "They've started entering our houses, killing all of us. We are appealing, we are pleading with you people; please help us… pray for us. All we need is prayer."
Please consider making time in your church service to show this video and pray for persecuted Christians across the world.