In January of 2013, Rep. Frank Wolf wrote a letter to 300 Catholic and Protestant Christian leaders in the United States pleading for their attention and intervention in the tragedy of Christian persecution. Rep. Wolf has been a tremendous leader in the movement to advance religious freedom and human rights.
Sadly, the call seems to have gone largely unnoticed by most Christians in America.
In his letter, Rep. Wolf offers a compelling call for the Church to act on behalf of persecuted Christians. He recounts the following experience of a German Christian whose church failed to act during the Holocaust:
I recently encountered this haunting account by a German Christian in the book When a Nation Forgets God:
“I lived in Germany during the Nazi Holocaust. I considered myself a Christian. We heard stories of what was happening to the Jews, but we tried to distance ourselves from it, because, what could anyone do to stop it?
A railroad track ran behind our small church and each Sunday morning we could hear the whistle in the distance and then the wheels coming over the tracks. We became disturbed when we heard the cries coming from the train as it passed by. We realized that it was carrying Jews like cattle in the cars!
Week after week the whistle would blow. We dreaded to hear the sound of those wheels because we knew that we would hear the cries of the Jews en route to a death camp. Their screams tormented us.
We knew the time the train was coming and when we heard the whistle blow we began singing hymns. By the time the train came past our church we were singing at the top of our voices. If we heard the screams, we sang more loudly and soon we heard them no more.
Years have passed and no one talks about it anymore. But I still hear that train whistle in my sleep. God forgive me; forgive all of us who called ourselves Christians and yet did nothing to intervene.”
Please join The St. Charles Institute in prayer that Christians in the West would not, once again, fail to act in the face of great evil. Ask God for help in discerning ways that you might draw attention to the challenges facing Christians who are currently persecuted for their faith.
And then do something.
Share prayer requests in your Sunday School or small group. Share articles on Twitter and Facebook to help create greater awareness of the problem. Talk about the issue with friends and family. Set aside a special time of prayer and ask God to do a miracle for believers suffering for their faith.
Each of our collective actions will make a difference.
As Rep. Wolf reminds us, we must remember the lesson from Bonhoffer: “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”
May God grant us the courage to act, and may He give us the courage to be silent no more.