It's Separation of Church and State, Stupid

November 21, 2008

© Emad Nasry
© Emad Nasry

Not persecution of the Church by the State. Unfortunately for Patriarch “Abune” Antonios of the Eritrean Orthodox Church, the government of Eritrea doesn’t think that way. Considered a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty, he has been under house arrest since January 2006 after continually resisting government interference in religious affairs.

Minority faith groups such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses and over 35 evangelical Christian churches are banned in Eritrea. An estimated 2,000 members of minority evangelical churches which have been outlawed since 2002 are in detention in harsh conditions. Amnesty International has received reports that some detainees have been repeatedly beaten up and tied in painful positions in order to force them to renounce their faith.

In the US, it’s easy to take religious freedom for granted (this may be especially true for Christians?), but clearly not everyone is so lucky. What would you do if your religion or spiritual belief system were banned or oppressed in the country where you live?