Tuesday, May 8, 2012

D.C. Press Conference Addresses Religious Freedom, Increase in Persecution

On Thursday, May 3, a press conference was held in Washington, D.C., at the National Press Club’s Bloomberg Room in hopes to address religious freedom and the dramatic increase in the persecution of Christians.
According to reports, nearly 70 percent of the world’s 6.8 billion people live in countries with little or no freedom of religion, including many countries in the Middle East and Africa.
About 20 print and broadcast media outlets, and others, gathered to hear from Dr. Carl Moeller, president/CEO of Open Doors USA; Nina Shea, director for religious freedom at the Hudson Institute; Rev. Dr. Katharine Rhodes Henderson, president of Auburn Theological Seminary in New York City; Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, director of Interfaith Affairs for the Simon Wiesenthal Center; who were among the panel of speakers that addressed the issue of embattled Christian communities. (Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, was also scheduled to participate. However, he was unable to stay due to a family emergency. Adlerstein shared a statement from Cooper at the press conference.)
“We at Open Doors USA were here to champion the rights of persecuted Christians around the world,” said Moeller. “Basically, the thought behind the whole conference was to demonstrate a unity in regard to religious freedom.”
He said that the persecution of Christians and the attack on religious freedom was a major problem around the world. These organizations are coming together to say that it needs to be stopped. They are calling on government officials and the administration for help. There are also tools in place, such as the Congressional Scorecard (available at www.opendoorsusa.org) to help. Additionally, they are in support of HR 440, a bill that calls for the establishment of the Special Envoy to Promote Religious Freedom of Religious Minorities in the Near East and in South Central Asia. Proposed by Congressman Frank Wolf, the bill was read the second time on January 23, 2012 and it has been placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders (Calendar No. 292).
“It is important to everyone involved to come together as a group to say we are going to call on the United States government, administration, and the candidates, President Obama and Mitt Romney, to make our religious freedom a major component of the discussion of our freedoms here in the United States,” Moeller said.


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