On November 14, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, the UK's Minister for Faith, gave a speech to Georgetown University, explaining in great detail the persecution of Christians around the world. Baroness Warsi published her position in the Daily Telegraph that morning:
"There are parts of the world today where to be a Christian is to put your life in danger. From continent to continent, Christians are facing discrimination, ostracism, torture, even murder, simply for the faith they follow. The pages of this newspaper regularly chart the plight of the persecuted, from the scores of worshippers killed recently by bombers at All Saints Church in Pakistan to the Coptic congregation sprayed with bullets by gunmen in Egypt.
"Christian populations are plummeting and the religion is being driven out of some of its historic heartlands. There is even talk of Christianity becoming extinct in places where it has existed for generations – where the faith was born. In Iraq, the Christian community has fallen from 1.2 million in 1990 to 200,000 today. In Syria, the horrific bloodshed has masked the hemorrhaging of its Christian population."
It is encouraging to see a prominent Western government official such as Baroness Warsi, herself a Muslim, willing to advocate for the rights and security of Christians. In the West, secularism has succeeded in isolating faith to the individual's private life and has failed to account for the growth of fervent religious belief in both policy and practice. As 9/11 has shown and subsequent years proven, the consequences of such a position are devastating. We now must seriously consider a future in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia without Christians.
The Institute welcomes Baroness Warsi's commitment to the safety and security of Christians. Sen. Rand Paul, Tom Farr, and many others are working hard to force the conversation in the United States. Aid and advocacy groups like Open Doors USA bring much needed support and relief to victims of anti-Christian violence around the world. Both are critical to success.
Yet it is the Institute's belief that the Christian Church around the world must lead the way in these efforts - through prayer, through understanding, and through compassionate and courageous action. Faith in a loving and just God must be our hope, and belief that He will answer our cries for help must give us courage to stand up and advocate for Christians who are suffering for their faith and hindered in their practice and proclamation of the Gospel. We can - in fact, we must - advocate for the rights and justice for Christians.