I Prayed have prayed
Lord, may America hold fast to its roots of religious freedom and may we and our neighbors choose daily to follow after You.

America should cherish and promote religious freedom. It is after all our first liberty upheld in the Bill of Rights, and we know it to be a cornerstone for flourishing and secure societies. But two significant voices — a Republican and a Democrat — this week underscored the horrible fact that 80 percent of people in the world live with restrictions on that right. So what will our nation do about it?

Ambassador Sam Brownback, a former governor and senator, was the top diplomat focused exclusively on international religious liberty during the Trump administration. Since leaving the State Department at the onset of the Biden administration, he has found common cause with Gayle Manchin, Chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) and wife of Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).

Brownback and Manchin authored an op-ed published Tuesday in The Hill titled, “Religious Freedom Must Be Guaranteed For Everyone, Everywhere, All The Time.” They highlighted instances of religious persecution ranging from censorship to imprisonment to execution for Christians, Muslims, and other minorities around the world.

They declared, “…this foundational human right is among the most abused in the world.”

To rally real, persistent action against this evil, Brownback and Manchin announced a first-of-its-kind annual summit this summer in Washington. Led by a broad cross-section of religious and civil society organizations, it will be “the largest grassroots gathering ever of religious freedom advocates.”

They foresee government and private sector leaders convening and sharing both stories of persecution and proposed remedies. But they are very clear that they don’t want this to be a meeting that starts and ends with talk. The point is “building a grassroots movement to eradicate religious persecution.” The summit is to be “an epicenter of activism to take serious action.”

The IRF Summit scheduled for this coming July may remind us of the formal government-led gatherings hosted by the Trump State Department in years past. Certainly, by its actions even more than its words, the last administration showed it was wholeheartedly invested in the promotion of religious freedom as a top foreign policy priority. Hosting top-level diplomatic ministerials, recruiting and leading a bloc of dozens of nations in an International Religious Freedom Alliance, and just the selection of Brownback alone told the world America was not going to shy away from its first freedom.

Now — as the 100-day marker for the Biden administration approaches — in many ways we appear still to be at a pivot point.

In another Hill article posted on Easter, Open Doors USA president David Curry emphasized that about 13 Christians are killed every day for their faith, and 340 million more face substantial persecution because they follow Jesus. He expressed concern that despite words from President Biden affirming religious freedom, “persecuted Christians and other religious minorities are still waiting for him to turn his words into diplomatic action.”

Among Curry’s concerns are ongoing personnel vacancies in the administration, specifically the appointment of an official to step into Brownback’s old post. Curry said, “Having a dedicated, knowledgeable leader singularly devoted to this important issue at such a critical time is imperative.”

I am encouraged that Brownback and Manchin are teaming together to raise attention to religious liberty around the world. Let’s pray America’s top policymakers will heed this bipartisan call — and the grassroots movement we hope will grow and rally to this cause.

“Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God.” (Acts 19:8)

How will you pray for a growing grassroots coalition advocating for religious freedom?

Aaron Mercer is a Contributing Writer with two decades of experience in Washington, D.C.s public policy arena. He reflects on faith, technology, and the public square at FTPolicy.com. (Photo Credit: Unsplash.)

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April 13, 2021

President Biden is promoting a bill that would diminish religious freedom here in the USA, and punish the faithful for standing by their convictions. It is highly unlikely he will do anything on the diplomatic front that would serve to deter religious intolerance. It will only happen by the grace of God, and the lifting up of leaders like Ambassador Brownback and Mrs. Manchin.

Lord, soften all hearts. Cool my anger at the lack of leadership in our Government, the poor decisions, the promotion of a culture of hate, and division. Open the eyes and ears of all peoples to hear and do what’s right. Help us all see that which is precious to you. Grant us wisdom and expand our capacity for love that we may bring peace to a hurting world. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

April 13, 2021

Father God,
I pray that You raise up more pastors like the two in Canada who have stood boldly and courageously against government oppression and persecution of the Church. I ask that You pour out Your grace, wisdom, discernment, and favor on every pastor who will be a godly leader to their congregations : teaching them truth from the Bible, showing them how to stand for liberty, and protecting them from false doctrines and evil.
Fill the pastors with the fire of Your Holy Spirit to strengthen and guide them in the Name of Jesus. Amen.

I also lift up Senator Manchin to stand firm against corruption of election laws and I ask that You call forth other Christians in the Democrat party to put their allegiance to Jesus and His Kingdom first in their hearts and actions. LORD, please help Ambassador Brownback and Mrs, Manchin by causing a groundswell of support for this meeting and use it to accomplish Your good plans and purposes here in the USA and around the world for Jesus Christ’s sake and through the power of His blood given to set us free. Amen.

Penni Bulten
April 13, 2021

This is news you would not hear anywhere else! Apparently Joe Manchin is listening to his constituents, both on Students for Life and this. However I pray they start in their own country, just as Jesus sent the disciples to Israel first. (Judea) I hope they start with the blue states that restricted religious freedom during the pandemic, please. Otherwise they will look like a pair of hypocrites, and Vladimir Putin will be happy to point it out (as he has done before).

Heavenly Father, behold how good and pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity. I ask that You would guide the efforts of Ambassador Sam Brownback and Gayle Manchin to lead the call for religious freedom. I ask direction for their efforts and wisdom, sincerity and truth in reporting, and empathy for believers both overseas and here in the states. Keep them from falling into the hypocrisy trap.

April 13, 2021

Lord God,

Help us to care about what You care about. Let the light of Christ shine bright through every follower of Christ that more would be touched and transformed by Your Holy Spirit. Lord, may Your will be done in this country and all over the world. In You Name we pray

Connie Ross
April 13, 2021

Religious liberty was the grassroots of our country.
Abba, Father, I pray we will return to our roots and revival will sweep across our nation beginning in Washington DC with our government officials. May God remove the weeds so that our nation will be seen again as “One Nation under God”.
In Jesus’ Name. Amen.


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