As many of you know, the United Nations has been engaging in an ongoing attack on the right to freely practice religion around the world. This attack, led by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), is called the Defamation of Religions resolution, and would encourage member nations to outlaw criticism of Islam, including proclamations of the Gospel.
For several years now, we have been working to oppose this resolution and this afront to religious freedom. During that time, we have ssen a dramatic decline in support for this resolution.
And this year, support continues to erode. Just last month, the Third Committee of the General Assembly approved the language by the narrowest margin so far, with 81 nations voting "Yes" - 55 voting "No" - and 43 abstaining.
The measure came up for a vote today at the full General Assembly of the United Nations. And the number of "No" votes continues to climb. Sam Nunberg from our New York office reports that today's vote in the full General Assembly for the Defamation of Religions resolution: 80 nations voted "Yes" - 61 nations voted "No" - 42 "Abstain" votes.
This vote not only reflects declining support during this year but shows a continuing pattern of growing opposition within the United Nations.
Consider these vote totals from the U.N General Assembly on the Defamation of Religions resolution:
YES NO ABSTAIN
2009 80 61 42
2008 86 53 42
2007 108 51 25
The 61 "No" votes recorded today represents the highest level of opposition to date and is the second consecutive year in which the "No" and "Abstain" votes outnumbered the "Yes" votes in the General Assembly.
This is a very encouraging sign. What this tells us is that our message is getting through. A growing number of nations around the world understand that this resolution is unacceptable - that it is harmful, not helpful, to preserving religious liberty and freedom. We will continue to work on this issue and to educate more nations about the dangers of this resolution and encourage them to vote against it.
Thanks, too, to the hundreds of thousands of you who stood with us in this effort. There's still much work to do on this issue, but we are certainly encouraged by today's vote and the continued decline in support for a resolution that's frequently used to silence minority religions - including Christianity - in many countries.