A watchdog is warning about exploding Christian persecution across the globe — a dynamic that comes as the percentage of refugees admitted to the U.S. remains lower than human rights advocates desire. Ryan Brown, CEO of persecution watchdog Open Doors US, said his organization’s “Closed Doors” report, released in partnership with World Relief, sheds light on this troubling situation. “The report sought to pull information from the ‘World Watch List’ that Open Doors puts out every year that highlights the 50 countries where Christians are most persecuted because of their faith in Christ,” he said. “And then it also acknowledges the trends that we’ve seen as far as those from those countries that are seeking the ability to reside in the U.S. to escape persecution.” Brown said the numbers of those admitted to the U.S. for these purposes have been “decreasing in dramatic fashion” over the years, despite horrific persecution trends. While America has traditionally been a “beacon” for those fleeing religious persecution, he said the situation is currently not as accommodating as it once was to live out those values.
One of the dynamics at the heart of refugee decreases, he said, was COVID-19. With the virus creating “barriers” to entry, Brown said he’s hoping to see those restrictions be fully erased now that more restrictive anti-viral measures have been mostly abandoned. “We haven’t seen the return of those being granted this asylum or this ability to get this refugee status return to those pre-COVID numbers,” he said. Brown also addressed some Americans who might argue the nation is beleaguered with its own issues and must look inward rather than address problems unfolding abroad. He expressed his belief “America has historically been at its best when we’ve been our most compassionate. “He also issued a warning worth heeding: “If we don’t proactively engage in these issues and just look to retreat from them, they come to us.” Brown essentially argued persecution has a way of making its way to “our shores” if we’re not careful and diligent.
“We need to be proactive in our compassion, proactive in our love and our care and our concern for those around the globe,” he said. “As Christians, I think that that’s all the more important that the love of Christ isn’t confined to political or geographical borders.” Brown said Jesus calls Christians to “go into all the world and to make disciples,” again underscoring the importance of looking beyond U.S. borders. He said the “Closed Doors” report offered some sobering and surprising findings, citing violence and chaos in sub-Saharan Africa, South America, and other locations. This country-specific data can all be found in the annual “World Watch List.” In the end, Brown has been inspired by the persecuted Christians who he said boldly stay behind to minister to people in their home countries. He’s hoping, though, that the “Closed Doors” report helps raise awareness about persecution and the needs of those fleeing these situations. Prayer, he said, is just one of the actions he wants to see ramp up on behalf of the persecuted church. He urged Americans to “speak out on behalf of those who are not able to speak for themselves.”
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