The following is the third installment of a six-part series focusing on why the ACLJ is needed now more than ever to protect the victories we’ve achieved and beat back the ominous challenges we now face under the Biden Administration.
The battle for religious liberty at home and abroad is at the core of the ACLJ’s mission, and that fight is now more important than ever.
The Persecuted Church:
After more than seven months of being wrongfully detained in India, Christian Pastor Bryan Nerren – a U.S. citizen – was finally allowed to come home to his family in the United States in May 2020. The false charges against Pastor Nerren – who heads up the non-profit ministry, Asian Children’s Education Fellowship, which has been training Sunday School teachers in India and Nepal for 17 years – were dropped, the prosecution was withdrawn, and the judge lifted all travel restrictions and returned his passport. A misunderstanding that should have taken just hours to resolve administratively within customs turned into a seven-month ordeal, involving false arrest, false charges, jail time, seizure of passport, travel ban, court hearings, custom reports, and appeals.
The ACLJ’s work in this arena never ends, and we continue to be vigilant and prepared to mobilize at a moment’s notice.
We have previously informed our members about China’s relentless and continuous persecution of Christians, as well as its attacks on religious liberty. These attacks span from arbitrarily arresting pastors to surveilling churches and even implementing laws and regulations that essentially regulate what religious groups can and cannot say. Through our European affiliate, the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ), we filed an urgent written submission to the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) detailing China’s continued attacks on religious freedom, and we continue to fight for the release of Pastor John Cao, who has now been unjustly imprisoned for over four years in China because of his faith.
As we stated in our submission to the U.N.:
In December of 2019, a Chinese state-run news agency published the Administrative Measures for Religious Groups. These new government regulations went into effect on 1 February 2020. Under these new regulations, religious groups are prohibited from engaging in religious activities without prior approval from the government, and are also required to accept and “support the leadership of the Communist Party of China.” Moreover, they must also “adhere to the direction of the Sinicization of religions in China, embody the core values of socialism and maintain national unity, ethnic unity, religious harmony, and social stability.” Individuals like Pastor Cao are caught up in China’s capricious and arbitrary attacks on Christians.
In the next installment, I’ll discuss major victories in our fight to demand Government Accountability.
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