Release | Save the Persecuted Christians | February 11, 2020
‘SaveUs’ Movement Continues to Build Momentum, Raise Awareness, Affect National Action and Hold Persecutors Accountable
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Two years ago this week, Save the Persecuted Christians (STPC) formed on Feb. 14, Ash Wednesday 2018, as an informal coalition of faith leaders passionate about advocating for the hundreds of millions of persecuted Christians worldwide.
Today, Save the Persecuted Christians is a bipartisan, multi-faith coalition of nearly 200 civil society, faith and community leaders who advocate for more than 300 million persecuted Christians globally. In just two years, STPC has made incredible impact for persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ around the world.
“Save the Persecuted Christians evolved in 2019 into its own non-partisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt corporation working with, representing and empowering coalition members, while highlighting the amazing work they are doing,” said STPC Executive Director Dede Laugesen. “As we look back and look ahead, we know that the STPC mission—educating Americans on the growing persecution of Christians in a record number of countries worldwide and complementing and elevating the work of others seeking to aid those suffering such persecution—is all the more vital. STPC strives to do the latter in a systemic way, by holding the perpetrators accountable and by creating real costs to them for their crimes against humanity.”
Added STPC President and CEO Frank J. Gaffney, “Save the Persecuted Christians is extraordinarily appreciative of the solidarity and partnership of the coalition that gave rise to this initiative and whose members do so much on behalf of oppressed followers of Jesus. Their efforts are, unfortunately, more necessary than ever—and require them to be redoubled in 2020.”
In 2020 alone, STPC has engaged in the following initiatives:
- Commented on the 2020 World Watch List from Open Doors USA, which reported in January that 260 million Christians are victims of high to extreme levels of persecution (i.e., torture, rape, sex-slavery, expulsion, murder and genocide), an increase of nearly 6% over 2019. Open Doors also estimates 1 in 8 of the world’s Christians experience persecution, and that in 2019: 2,983 Christians were killed for their faith, with nearly half of those in Nigeria, 3,711 were detained without trial, arrested, sentenced and imprisoned; and 9,488 churches or Christian buildings were attacked.
- Continued to urge a U.S. special envoy to Nigeria and the Lake Chad region because of extreme and heightened violence against Christians there. At least 1,000 Christians were killed in 2019, with more than 5,000 killed since 2015, according to a U.K. report.
- Delivered two letters to President Donald Trump and his administration regarding Christian persecution.
- First, on Jan. 27, STPC sent an open letter about the much-needed U.S. Special Envoy to Nigeria and the Lake Chad region. Signed by 108 NGOs/faith groups and 33 individuals, the letter begins, “As you have rightly made the protection of religious freedom a priority for your administration, we write to urge you to act immediately to prevent the further escalation of one of the most ominous threats to this fundamental liberty—the genocidal assault on Christians in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region. You and your predecessors have appointed special envoys to address critical problems in the past. We call upon you to do so in this case in the hope of staving off a currently unfolding disaster for that region, for Africa and for the world.”
- Then on Feb. 6, STPC sent a second letter to call on the Trump administration to “speak boldly and specifically about the global persecution of Christians.” The letter, signed by 88 organizations and over 500 individuals, opened: “We write as people of faith to express our deep appreciation for all that you do to stand with religious believers and to counter those who restrict or deny the practice of their faith. No administration in modern times has done more than yours to safeguard this foundational liberty.”
- Brought attention to the tragic January execution Rev. Lawan Andimi, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Chairman for Michika LGA in Adamawa state. Andimi was abducted during a Jan. 3 raid on Michika. A few days later, a proof of life video was released, in which the minister made pleas to the Church of the Brethren to intercede for him with the governor of Adamawa state. He then went on to say he was placing his trust in God and asked others to do the same.
- Created additional awareness about kidnapped Nigerian Christian teen Leah Sharibu, taken captive just days after STPC’s launch on Feb. 18, 2018.
- Hosted a special side event at the Feb. 6 National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., to focus on Christians persecution worldwide. A panel featured STPC leaders Gaffney, Hon. Frank R. Wolf, retired member of Congress, and Bob Fu, president of China Aid, along with Hungarian State Secretary Tristan Azbej; former USCIRF Commissioner Kristina Arriaga; and Faith McDonnell of the Institute on Religion and Democracy.
The mission of Save the Persecuted Christians is to save lives and save souls by disseminating actionable information about the magnitude of the persecution taking place globally and by mobilizing concerned Americans for the purpose of disincentivizing further attacks on those who follow Jesus.
One way is through STPC’s “The People of the Cross” exhibit, which features images, facts and quotes about the persecution of Christians in multiple countries, including China, Turkey, North Korea, Nigeria and India. A majority of the countries highlighted in the banners are high on the World Watch List. Joining “The People of the Cross” is STPC’s newest traveling exhibit titled “Warfare on Women,” which reveals the specific terror-tactic used to demean and degrade female believers to instill fear into the heart of Christian communities.
With so much of the world’s Christian population being imprisoned and/or harassed for their beliefs, the need has never been greater for the sort of grassroots campaign STPC’s SaveUs Movement is working to foster. Its efforts are modeled after a miraculously successful one that helped free another population suffering from heavy persecution—Soviet Jews—by penalizing those in the Kremlin responsible for such repression. Through this movement, Save the Persecuted Christians endeavors to provide American policymakers with the popular support they need to effect real change worldwide and alleviate systemicallythe suffering being experienced by so many of those following Christ.
To interview a Save the Persecuted Christians representative, contact Media@HamiltonStrategies.com