Churches and other landmarks all over the world were lit up red on November 27 in support of Red Wednesday.
Charity organization, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), organized the first Red Wednesday in 2016 to draw attention to the persecution of Christians. Red, the color of blood, symbolizes martyrdom in Christianity and is associated with Jesus’ death on the cross, reports Aleteia.
Different religions lead to differences in behavior, cultural norms and attitudes. Religious literacy, when trying to understand the world, is a must. —Fionn Shiner, Aid to the Church in Need’s Parliamentary and Press Officer
In addition to highlighting the plight of Christian minorities, Red Wednesday encourages people to make a stand for religious freedom.
In the UK, 120 buildings were bathed in red light, including London’s Westminster Cathedral, while more than 2,000 parishes in the Philippines supported the campaign.
ACN published a report this year warning that persecution is so severe in Iraq and Syria that Christianity may be extinct soon. Christians are leaving their homes to seek refuge elsewhere. In other countries, persecution amounts to ethnic cleansing and genocide, reports The Christian Institute.
“While there is an attitude in Western countries that religion is a settled issue, unimportant to how people live their lives, in most of the world religion is still incredibly important,” said ACN’s Parliamentary and Press Officer Fionn Shiner.
The UK’s Foreign Office published a report, endorsed by the Bishop of Truro, recommending several policies to protect Christians. These include mandatory religious literacy training for its staff, funds to help persecuted Christians, and allowing UN observers to monitor security measures to safeguard religious minorities.
“Different religions lead to differences in behavior, cultural norms and attitudes. Religious literacy, when trying to understand the world, is a must,” Shiner commented.
In an interview with Crux, Shiner disclosed that ACN wants the UN to provide refugee camps in Iraq and Syria. “Our reports indicate that Christians are sometimes not allowed into the UN refugee camps and if they do manage to gain access, they are often subject to violence, intimidation, humiliation and persecution inside the camps themselves.”
The violence in the two countries threatens the ancient Christian population. In Iraq, there is a sharp decline in the Christian population from 1.5 million to around 150,000 in 15 years.
Shiner said the international community should help in rebuilding Christian communities in the Middle East and “bring the perpetrators of atrocities in Iraq and Syria to justice.”