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On Religious Persecution In Sudan And The People’s Republic Of China

WHEREAS, The 105th Congress of the United States passed the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, creating the Commission on International Religious Freedom (CIRF); and

WHEREAS, The CIRF issued its first annual report on May 1, 2000, addressing the importance of religious freedom as a permanent and significant factor in the formulation and application of U.S. foreign policy; and

WHEREAS, The State Department has designated Sudan and China as “countries of particular concern” for violations of religious freedom; and

WHEREAS, The CIRF identifies the government of Sudan as the world’s most violent abuser of the right to freedom of religion and belief; and

WHEREAS, Sudan has been engaged in a 17-year genocidal war, killing approximately 2 million people, mostly Christians and followers of traditional animist religions; and

WHEREAS, The extremist government in Khartoum is attempting to extend Shariah, or Islamic law, to Christians, traditional religionists, and Muslims who hold less extreme interpretations of their Islamic faith; and

WHEREAS, The government of Sudan has restricted the direct delivery of food, Bibles, and relief aid into certain areas of Sudan (including but not limited to the Nuba Mountains and the Blue Nile region), resulting in death by starvation and related illnesses of hundreds of thousands of Sudanese Christians; and

WHEREAS, Government violations against religious freedom have also increased markedly in China during the past year; and

WHEREAS, Evangelical, Protestant, Roman Catholic, and other religious faiths have suffered increased persecution, including prison detention, beatings, and death; and

WHEREAS, The Chinese government’s practices with respect to religious freedom violate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of religion or belief and affirm the right to hold and to manifest beliefs; and

WHEREAS, The Word of God exhorts us to “remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering” (Hebrews 13:3 NIV).

Therefore, be it RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Orlando, Florida, June 13-14, 2000, affirm the Commission on International Religious Freedom for its investigation and reporting of religious freedom violations abroad; and

Be it further RESOLVED, That we encourage and support direct delivery of relief aid by public and private groups to people who are victims of persecution and genocide in southern and central Sudan; and

Be it further RESOLVED, That we encourage Southern Baptists to intercede regularly in prayer for those in other countries who are suffering for their faith in Christ; and

Be it finally RESOLVED, That we urge the administration and Congress to use every appropriate means to compel the governments in Sudan and the People’s Republic of China to stop the various atrocities and ongoing violations of religious freedoms.