Today, the threat to international religious freedom is greater than ever as the virus pandemic is being used by governments and hate groups to justify and institutionalize repression. There is a vast number of ‘invisible’ people suffering for their religious identity, their faith, and or acts of conscience. The Coronavirus has not slowed religious persecution, but neither has it destroyed the faith of many who are infected and remain persecuted.
Last evening we launched the 21Wilberforce Global Freedom Center with an inaugural virtual event: INVISIBLE PEOPLE: The Coronavirus Impact on Millions Persecuted for Their Faith and Beliefs. President and founder, Randel Everett, hosted conversations with survivor activists Archbishop Ben Kwashi and Mariam Ibraheem along with thought leaders Judge Ken Starr and USCIRF Vice Chair Gayle Manchin. If you missed the event, we invite you to watch the webcast.
The 21Wilberforce Global Freedom Center was launched to expand the sphere of those who can listen to the persecuted around the world and respond with prayer, training and advocacy. This is made possible through results-based programs, our digital training platform, and a new partnership with the Baptist World Alliance (BWA), a network of believers residing in 125 nations. The BWA will tap into 21Wilberforce resources, translated into more than 100 languages, to defend, inform, equip and mobilize a global grassroots network. In addition to training, this platform offers BWA, and faith groups around the world, a digital home for sharing concerns and resources that will empower a global religious freedom movement.
21Wilberforce and the BWA are two worldwide organizations that share a commitment to global religious liberty for all persons believing in the God given gift of conscience, belief, and freedom. The vision of both organizations is to empower and support those whose communities are persecuted and oppressed, challenge those who repress, speak truth to power alongside those most impacted, and to work for transformative peace.
Our namesake, William Wilberforce, confronted England about the atrocities of slavery and said, “You may choose to look the other way, but you can no longer say I did not know.” Perhaps you will become an advocate for the persecuted. The Church and the world needs to know that believers and people of all faiths are standing with them; they are suffering in magnitudes that we cannot imagine. We ask for your prayers and your support of this vital work.