48 Hours for Religious Freedom, September 22-23, 2012, is a worldwide gathering of people of faith to raise international awareness about religious discrimination and persecution so that, together, we can stand against discrimination and persecution wherever they occur.
Among the preeminent, God-given rights of every man and woman are the rights to freedom of religion and freedom of conscience. No one should ever be penalized for his or her religious faith or his or her exercise of conscience. When one person is penalized for choosing to worship God as his or her conscience dictates, all of us are endangered. If we don’t respond to protect another’s right to worship freely, how can we then expect others to defend us when we are singled out because of our faith?
We are seeking to encourage men and women of goodwill around the globe to stand with the persecuted Church in Iran. On September 8, 2012, Iran released Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, an Iranian pastor who had been imprisoned for his Christian faith for nearly three years under the threat of execution for his faith. His release demonstrates how the unification of the body of Christ can set captives free. We call on all persons of goodwill interested in defending the freedoms of religion and conscience to join together during the weekend of September 22-23, 2012, by publicizing Christian persecution stories in Iran through activities consistent with your respective faith tradition, such as holding a candlelight vigil, engaging in a period of soaking prayer, reading a letter from a diocesan official at Mass, encouraging members of your congregation to write letters of encouragement to imprisoned Christians, organizing a special worship service, organizing a program to educate people about the dangers and prevalence of religious discrimination, calling on members of all faiths to write respectful letters calling for religious freedom in Iran to Iranian embassies and to Iran’s supreme leader.
Through this website, you will find information about Christians persecuted in Iran, as well as other materials to assist you in participating in this event. It is our hope that this will be just the first step in standing for freedom of religion and conscience and against religious discrimination and persecution around the globe.