WORLDWIDE – Will COVID-19 increase support for religious freedom?

Christian Post | Stephen Enada | April 12, 2020

The Christian Season of Lent is coming to an end – and it’s certainly one for the books. With the spread of the COVID-19 virus accelerating in the U.S. and around the world, normal routines have come to a halt, including most church services. Fortunately, this unprecedented situation has not stopped Christians from preparing for the glory of Easter; instead, it’s drawn others to pray. Even if that trend is short-lived, I hope those that find themselves turning to prayer in this time of crisis walk away with a newfound appreciation for the importance of religious freedom.  

The Pew Research Center released a new report that shows the pandemic has changed the religious habits of Americans, with people who seldom or never pray and even people who say they do not belong to any religion at all, now turning to prayer. In all, more than half of all  U.S. adults have prayed for an end to the virus’ spread. We’re actually very fortunate in the United States, to have the freedom to make this decision, which probably seems small to some.

Here in the United States, religion is recognized as a basic human right that everyone, everywhere, should have at all times. But that isn’t a globally shared belief and in fact, there are places in this world where Christians risk everything to follow Jesus Christ. This remains the case during times of crisis.

According to the latest reports, Christian persecution reached unprecedented levels at the end of 2019, with more than 260 million Christians around the globe experiencing “high levels” of persecution. That’s one in eight believers worldwide – they are men, women and children, moms, dads, sons and daughters.

Some parts of the world are more dangerous for Christians than others. Nigeria is one of those places.

Right now, Boko Haram, widely known as one of the deadliest terrorist groups in the world, is actively committing a genocide against Nigerian Christians and committing crimes against humanity on the wider population. Since 2011, Boko Haram has taken more than 37,000 innocent lives, the vast majority of them women and children. Entire communities, villages, and towns have been devastated. Millions more have been kidnapped or displaced from their homes following persecution.