Religious groups launch research project to track Christians’ response to persecution

  • Written by:

Lorraine Caballero
The Religious Freedom Institute has joined forces with the University of Notre Dame and Georgetown University’s Religious Freedom Project to determine how Christians from all over the world respond to persecution and to raise awareness of their situation.
(REUTERS / Ahmed Malik)Iraqi Christians attend a mass at Mar Girgis Church in Baghdad July 20, 2014.

“Under Caesar’s Sword,” a report funded by the Templeton Religion Trust, was the very first systematic global study of Christians’ response to persecution. For three years, 14 scholars studied religious persecution and the responses to abuse of religious freedom in more than 30 countries, the Catholic News Agency detailed.

The scholars turned the major findings of “Under Caesar’s Sword” into various resources including two programs that began online and is open for registration. These courses are available for free via the University of Notre Dame’s Satellite Theological Educational Program.

“We are now working to put the findings from the Under Caesar’s Sword project (produced together with Dan Philpott at Notre Dame) into the hands of churches and leaders to help them equip their people to understand and respond to persecution of Christians around the world,” said Religious Freedom Institute executive director Kent Hill in a news briefing.

The program called Christians Confronting Persecution was made for teachers, pastors, ministers, and others who want to encounter “the reality of persecution through the lens of faith.” The other one, called We Respond, is tailored for high school students, churches, and other groups who want to study and reflect on the reality of religious persecution.

Hill added that the Religious Freedom Institute wants to provide churches, Christian schools, and other believers with specific ways to become aware of what persecuted Christians are going through. He also said they want to let them know about the things they can do to help the persecuted believers.

Meanwhile, Cardinal Edwin F. O’Brien told Catholics gathered at St. Brigid Church in Peapack that the Christian genocide happening now “is possibly the worst and bloodiest” in the history of the church. He also called out world leaders including those in America for ignoring the issue, the Catholic News Service relayed.

Cardinal O’Brien also challenged the faithful to respond to the pain of the persecuted Christians. He urged them to unite in providing support for their co-believers who are suffering because of religious persecution.

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