SANTA ANA, Calif. (March 1, 2012) – Many Middle East experts and international freedom organizations agree that Youcef Nadarkhani’s case has caused the worldwide community to transcend politics in support for the Iranian Christian pastor, proving there is heightened awareness for religious freedom. Nadarkhani has been awaiting a final decision on his death sentence for his faith.
Elsewhere around the world – in places like Syria, Egypt and Nigeria – Christians and other minorities are dying for their faith. In the United States, there has been a gradual eroding of religious freedoms.
For the past several months, Open Doors USA has been urging candidates to sign the Presidential Pledge for Religious Freedom. A candidate’s signature indicates that he or she commits to upholding religious freedom for people of all faiths in America, nominating U.S. federal judges who are committed to upholding religious freedom as defined in the pledge and prioritizing religious freedom concerns in U.S. foreign policy.
Republican Rick Santorum is the only presidential candidate who has signed the Presidential Pledge, according to a press release issued by Santorum’s staff on Feb. 3.
“Religious freedom is the first freedom guaranteed by our Constitution,” said Santorum. “It is also fundamental to the human experience, and I stand with those who suffer for their faith around the world and with those who defend them.”
While Santorum has been campaigning throughout the country, he has also worn a One With Them wristband. One With Them is a campaign launched last summer by Open Doors USA which encourages Christians in the United States to support persecuted Christians around the world who share their faith but not their freedom.
“Open Doors USA is grateful for Rick Santorum’s principled stance on religious freedom and hope his support for the pledge will bring more attention to the issue,” said Open Doors USA Advocacy Director Lindsay Vessey. “We sincerely hope other presidential candidates will join Santorum in pledging their support for religious freedom in the Unites States and abroad.”
Open Doors USA is a non-profit organization which does not endorse or support any specific candidate or party. The Presidential Pledge for Religious Freedom was sent to the candidates of every party, and a follow-up letter was sent to each campaign headquarters. Open Doors USA also followed up multiple times by email with campaign staffers. To view a list of all candidates who have received the pledge, go to the pledge website at advocacy.opendoorsusa.org. The four candidates who suspended their campaigns have been removed from the site. A list of organizations and individuals who have endorsed the campaign can also be viewed on the pledge site.
People can help by signing a petition that urges presidential candidates to sign the pledge. To sign this important petition, go to advocacy.opendoorsusa.org. This will help the candidates understand that the public cares about religious freedom and wants our president to protect and promote it.
Nearly 70 percent of the world’s 6.8 billion people live in countries with little or no freedom of religion. Open Doors is an organization that for over five decades has come alongside Christians in 60 of these restrictive, dangerous countries, campaigning for the freedom to believe from the gulags in North Korea to the halls of Congress. Open Doors’ outreach to more than 100 million persecuted believers includes delivery of Bibles and other materials, training of indigenous leaders in the Word, Christian community development, prayer and advocacy. To partner with Open Doors USA, call toll free at 888-5-BIBLE-5 (888-524-2535) or go to www.OpenDoorsUSA.org.
(For more information or to set up an interview on the Presidential Pledge, contact Jerry Dykstra at 616-915-4117 or email [email protected] Emily Fuentes is available at 949-413-6721 or email at [email protected])