The USCIRF Report
On Monday, USCIRF launched its 20th Annual Report. Upon the discharge, Mission Community Information met up with Dr. David Curry of Open Doorways USA to debate the listing. Per Curry, there have been no surprises on the listing, however there are a few international locations which ought to have Christians on alert.
“Whenever the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom comes out with their report, it’s always a subset of some of the larger issues going on, meaning there are other places where Christians are being persecuted. But it has highlighted a couple of key areas,” Curry explains.
“What the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom does, in my view, is give you a handful of the places where they think religious freedom is crossing over into the political best interests of the United States.”
Russia Designated as CPC
On the 2019 report, Russia is advisable as a Tier 1 Nation of Explicit Concern (CPC). A rustic could be designated as a Tier 1 CPC “for engaging in or tolerating ‘systematic, ongoing, egregious violations’” relating to spiritual freedom. CPCs designated as Tier 2s solely meet one or two of those outlined violations, however by no means all three.
Russia’s classification on the listing is attributed to the federal government’s actions towards “nontraditional” spiritual minorities by fines, detentions, and legal prices below the masks of preventing extremism within the nation (This info discovered on web page 80 of the USCIRF 20th Annual Report). Curry believes a part of Russia’s designation is as a result of the U.S. is sending a political message that it doesn’t like what Russia is doing and is anxious for “religious freedom and what it means…for that region.”
Curry says in a few of Russia’s provinces, there have been Muslim extremists assaults on Christian church buildings. There are additionally questions relating to among the nation’s legal guidelines from the previous couple of years which give vital management to the state to limit evangelical church buildings. Nevertheless, these legal guidelines are inconsistently applied. Be taught extra about these legal guidelines right here and right here.
World Watch Checklist vs. USCIRF Report
Russia can also be ranked #41 on the Open Doorways’ World Watch Checklist* (WWL). The WWL is a report primarily based on analysis into international locations the place it’s most tough to be a Christian. The WWL works at a “grassroots level marketing key data” and determines exact components that contribute to the rating of nations. Because of this, Curry says the WWL is “the lead indicator for the USCIRF report”. Open Doorways additionally shares its WWL knowledge with the U.S. State Division.
“[The USCIRF report is] not giving you every place that Christians are being persecuted. They’re just telling you what, where that persecution, quote ‘is cross reference with their political interest’…But certainly, the Open Doors list is more comprehensive,” Curry notes.
China Designated as CPC
The USCIRF Annual Report additionally contains China, which is advisable as a Tier 1 CPC. The nation was beforehand designated in November 2018, however Curry says the explanations China was designated a Tier 1 CPC would possibly take some catching up for the common U.S. citizen. China can also be ranked #27 on the WWL.
For a time frame, China was increasing spiritual freedom so Christians and different spiritual teams might apply their religion – supplied it didn’t overtly battle with the Communist Get together agenda. However in keeping with Curry, within the final 5 years, persecution towards Christianity and different religions has elevated within the nation. Moreover, China has an added layer of technical sophistication which supplies them management of how individuals “live and experience life”.
“This technical sophistication allows them to use facial recognition, keep master lists of people who are going to church, who call themselves Christians, and then begin to give social scoring to people who are considered less than ideal citizens if they’re committed followers of Jesus. You can see where that’s headed, in a worst-case scenario,” Curry explains.
Curry recollects an incident in Beijing from final September when a church refused so as to add cameras to their pulpit. The aim of the cameras was to make use of facial recognition to find who’s attending. Curry additionally says people below 18-years-old are now not allowed to attend church.
“It’s just it’s stunning the levels to which China is now going to, to persecute and to hold down the expression of Christian faith,” Curry says.
China: Further Challenges
So as to add gasoline to the political hearth, Christianity is seen as a “Western” faith. In 2019, the U.S. and China have gone backwards and forwards in commerce wars. For the U.S., this implies spiritual points go on the backburner., although it’s a forefront situation.
“For Christians in the United States, we need to continue to pray, care, and show concern for what’s happening to brothers and sisters in China. This is a very severe problem. And there are [a] great many Christians whose faith, the practice of their faith, the freedom of that is at risk,” Curry emphasizes.
Responding to the USCIRF Report
Nonetheless, the query stays, how can Christians reply? Step one—schooling. Curry encourages Christians to be taught the details of what’s occurring in each China and Russia. Begin by studying the USCIRF Annual Report and familiarizing one’s self with the WWL. Additionally, keep up-to-date with the pressures Christians are going through globally on the Open Doorways web site.
“When you find out what’s happening to individual people, these stories come alive. I mentioned a church in Beijing, Zion Church, their pastor is in prison in solitary confinement. His story, his courage I think inspires us all in our faith. And then to be people of prayer for our brothers and sisters, because Jesus asked us to do that. Pray for those in prison for the name of Jesus,” Curry says.
Pray for the spiritual freedom of expression for Christ-followers in China and Russia. Pray for the spiritual liberties within the international locations listed on the USCIRF Annual Report and the WWL. Ask God to encourage and strengthen Christians residing in these international locations and that His Phrase and Gospel would penetrate the tradition regardless of the spiritual restrictions.
*Open Doorways USA’s World Watch Checklist (WWL) is a rating of the 50 high international locations the place it’s most tough to reside as a Christian. Discover the WWL right here.
Header photograph by James Coleman on Unsplash.