For many people around the world, religious freedom is an alien concept. No “First Amendment” protects them. No tradition of religious liberty permits them to worship according to their own consciences. If they go to a church that isn’t the “accepted” church, they risk ostracism, assault, torture, jail … even death.
The fact is, Christians are persecuted around the world on a daily basis -- it’s just that their stories are largely unknown.
But we must know their stories so that we can pray for them and support efforts to help.
Compass Direct is a Christian news service that maintains a network of international sources and reports on horrors you can’t imagine. The brave journalists at Compass do their best to uncover the truth so that some action can be taken against the tormentors. I’ve met with several of their reporters from around the world who risk their own safety and lives to shine the light on the ugly truth of religious persecution. They are trained journalists who write under aliases in order to keep from being arrested, or worse. Their reports are read by those in the highest levels on Capitol Hill, in the State Department and other government offices.
When I met with them, I felt humbled by their courage and inspired by their commitment to Christians they will never know. I marveled at the depth of their own faith. Sitting in a room with these warriors for truth made me reflect on my own commitment (or lack thereof) to my brothers and sisters in Christ. Reading the disturbing Compass reports has moved my spirit and deepened my understanding – and made me question my own willingness to “risk it all.”
In India, for example, numerous Christians have been beaten and threatened by Hindu extremists. One was tied to a tree and tormented for three hours before being banished from his village. What did he do to merit this treatment? He was handing out Christian tracts. Forcible “conversions” to Hinduism or other religions occur in some places. Other stories report on beatings intended to warn believers to stop attending prayer meetings. In another village, Christian families were banned from all shops and wells.