Apostolate of Our Lady of Hope/ St. Rafka Mission of Hope and Mercy announces: Ash Wednesday begins a historical Nationwide Campaign: Save the Persecuted Christians!
Denver — Ash Wednesday marks the launch of Save the Persecuted Christians national banner campaign supported by a coalition of well-known faith leaders and organizations. The campaign launches Wednesday in advance of the third anniversary of the ISIS video release of the beheadings of 21 Coptic Christians on the shores of Lybia February 15, 2015.
The coalition is providing Save the Persecuted Christians banners for churches and synagogues nationally in an effort to raise awareness of the violence Christians in many countries are experiencing. This combined effort will be a topic of discussion at CPAC next week in Washington, D.C. and it is expected to be highlighted by Vice President Mike Pence.
Save the Persecuted Christians Coalition member Fr. Andre Mahanna, of Colorado’s St. Rafka Mission of Hope and Mercy visited with the martyrs’ widows and families in July, 2016 and will be interviewed by Peter Boyles of 710 KNUS at 7:00 a.m. Wednesday.
“We are duty bound,” says Fr. Andre Mahanna, “to remember the sacrifice of the Coptic martyrs and their families by demanding an end to the violence being experience by hundreds of millions of Christians who are viewed as second-class citizens in so many countries of the world.”
Globally one in twelve Christians experience rape, torture, imprisonment, loss of property, forced marriage and physical violence because of their faith according to Open Doors, an international organization which publishes an annual report on the status of religious freedom country by country. They estimate 215 million Christians are highly persecuted for their faith.
In September 2017, Peter Burns in the Washington Examiner reported “Christians are ‘the most widely targeted religious community, suffering terrible persecution globally’ according to a study released this year by University of Notre Dame’s Center for Ethics and Culture, the Religious Freedom Institute, and Georgetown University’s Religious Freedom Research Project. From the horrific beheadings of Coptic Christians in Libya by the Islamic State, to the mutilation of Indonesian Christians who refused to convert to Islam, it is estimated that 7,100 Christians died for their faith in 2015.”
Faith Leaders for America, an initiative of the Center for Security Policy, is leading the effort to create an ecumenical and inter-faith coalition of American Christians and Jews to come together to make a sudden splash to raise awareness across America “all at once” of the persecution of Christians worldwide with the use of simple banners placed where the faithful will not fail to encounter the message.
The banner campaign is modeled on a 1970s initiative to Save Soviet Jewry which started out with banners and signs outside synagogues and churches across America that turned into a powerful political movement and catalyst for policy changes that ultimately helped free the USSR’s oppressed Jews and untold millions of others.
Mrs. Denise “Dede” Laugesen
Community Awareness Director