May 21, 2021

International Religious Freedom Summit 2021 Is All About Standing Up For Persecuted People Of Faith

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by Sarah Mae Saliong

The 2021 International Religious Freedom Summit, scheduled for July 13-15 in Washington, D.C., will bring together advocates for the persecuted church from across the globe.

This year’s theme states: “Standing for religious freedom for everyone, everywhere, all the time.”

About 300 million Christians worldwide are being persecuted for their faith. The summit began with the aim of bringing together resources and encouraging citizens to speak up for those who have been oppressed in the world.

“The purpose of the conference is to put together a coalition of organizations and individuals working for religious freedom so we can continue the momentum of the past three years and put together a network of information, support and action,” said former Senator Sam Brownback, Co-Chair of the summit.

Brownback hopes this conference can include a bipartisan framework to advocate for the world’s marginalized believers, in partnership with Gayle Manchin, former Chairperson of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom and wife of Sen. Joe Manchin.

Sen. Chris Coons and Sen. James Lankford, who serve as co-chairs of the Senate, and U.S. Reps. Henry Cuellar and Chris Smith, co-chairs of the Honorary House, are among other prominent politicians participating at this Summit.

The Alliance Defending Freedom, Family Researcher Council, Open Doors, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, the Religious Freedom Institute, the Philos Project, Samaritan’s Purse, International Christian Concern and other concerned agencies are among the major international organizations that will be participating.

“We are looking forward to a fruitful time of network building, information exchange and following through on the momentum that has developed,” says Brownback. “We are asking believers to pray for the conference, let your churches and other groups know, sign up, support and help us as we watch God raise up help for the hundreds of millions suffering for the cause of Christ.”

In 2018 and 2019, the Trump administration, with the help of then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, launched the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, a two-year special conference in which foreign ministers and international representatives meet for dialogue on important international issues.

During this meeting, almost 80 foreign ministers and government leaders, along with dozens of groups in favor of humanitarian relief, religious liberty and other causes, met in a large tent in the middle of the U.S. Department of State.

Those present negotiated and developed a basis for a universal religious freedom system in order to further a cause dear to the then-president. Around this time, Trump made an address to the United Nations, where he, along with the secretary general, called for an end to the oppression of Christians and others.

Brownback, a longtime senator and governor of Kansas who was newly named envoy for International Religious Freedom, established the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. The Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act served as the inspiration for the idea. The U.S. government commissioned this body to report on religious freedom worldwide each year and act on it as well.

The conference registration page can be found at

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