Religious Freedom Day: Remembering the World’s Persecuted Christians

Tags: Currents, Aid to the Church in Need, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, Christian Persecution, Crux, Diocese of Brooklyn, Religious Freedom, Religious Persecution, USCCB

By Tim Harfmann

Christians are being persecuted as never before in history, and on a day devoted to religious liberty, it’s a perfect time to spotlight their plight.

According to Joop Koopman of the papal charity Aid to the Church in Need, believing in God costs 11 Christians their lives every day. Still, millions more are living under the hammer of oppression.

“Christians are, by far, the most persecuted group,” he said. “Americans could do more thinking about people who are persecuted for their faith.”

“Our estimate shows about 300 million Christians live under some form of limitation of religious freedom: either outright persecution and violence, harassment, discrimination, et cetera,” he added.

Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio is stressing that it’s every American Christian’s duty to fight for freedom when dangers arise against the liberty to worship.

He devoted his entire column in The Tablet to religious freedom, writing, “It is important that we recognize threats to religious liberty and assert the right to freedom of religion and worship, as well as the freedom of conscience.”

Bishop George Murry, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Religious Liberty, argued that for society to survive, religion is essential.

“A culture of religious freedom consists of respect for the dignity of others as they seek to live in accordance with the truth about God,” he said. “All people can thrive in such a culture.”

At Aid to the Church in Need, Joop warns Christians to never let their guard down.

“I would say, don’t take it for granted,” he urged. “Pray for your brothers and sisters in all these places where going to church could get you killed.”