main

Impact ... in the public arena! [European EA Socio-Political Newsletter]

July 3, 2006

IMPACT

IN THE PUBLIC ARENA

EEA’s Socio-Political Team, working together with EEA’s members.

News from

Tove Videbaek, Brussels .

A new Belgian SECT law?!

A Belgian Parliamentary Working Group has recently published a new sect report, which states that Pentecostals and Evangelists, coming out of North American Protestantism or Africa make up a significant part of the Belgian ”sect” community.

The report asks for procedures to make it easier to remove children, close bank accounts and tap phones.

Because of this, Julia and I got together with some friends in Brussels to talk about what to do. Then Kris Vleugels (EA, Flemish-speaking ) helped us to prepare various letters, and I made contact with several MEPs.

As soon as I told him about the issue, MEP Terry Wynn (UK), offered to help us. He sent a letter (which I had written) to his Belgian colleagues to encourage them to talk to Belgian MPs and the Belgian government about this. He also agreed to ask fellow MEPs to sign a Written Declaration, in which we express, that “such a law would constitute an infringement of the right to religious freedom in Belgium” and five other serious statements.

Please let me know if you would like to receive these letters, the general information about the law and the Written Declaration.

Now Julia and others are working on a letter for Forum 18 and the European Council.

Kosova and as well?!

has just passed a bad religion law, similar to the Austrian one. Kosovo is in the process of passing a law. The Austrian government is advising. Serbian and Kosovan Evangelicals are asking for our help. Julia and I decided that I should write to an MEP encouraging him to officially ask the Austrian EU Presidency some questions about this situation. I have done that, but as we do not know what his answer will be, we will not publish his name yet.

So – religious liberty issues really have kept us busy these past months and also have made us find our friends to cooperate with.

These issues remind us that religious liberty is not only under threat in far away countries, but right here on our own doorstep. It is essential to be alert and proactive.

Pray for this very important ministry, which Julia and I together with other good friends are carrying out. From the EEA we play our part in this very large mission, and we love to do it! Thank you for your continued support and prayer.

Your Representative in Brussels ,

Tove Videbaek

News from the recent WEA Religious Liberty Commission meeting in Asia

Fruitful trees

Christians in much of Asia suffer beatings, rape, murder and imprisonment. Many have seen their homes, churches or livelihoods destroyed. But the passion to persevere in sharing the Gospel remains. Someone shared a Sri Lankan saying. “People only throw stones at trees that bear fruit.” It was clear that persecution happens where Christians are faithful in witnessing. Asian Church is growing, in some places extremely rapidly. A spiritual backlash is no surprise.

Since this is a spiritual battle, the Asian delegates asked for prayer more than anything else: for more unity and love to enable them to be even more effective in evangelism. Evangelical Alliance leaders thank us all for everything we do to help the Suffering Church : for prayers and all efforts to interest media and politicians in their plight.

At the same meeting, it was great to hear how the German Evangelical Alliance works on religious liberty issues despite small resources. They created the German Religious Liberty Commission (RLC), a small group of volunteers with different skills (theological, ethical, political, linguistic etc.). The volunteers work via email and occasional meetings to raise awareness of persecution. By gaining a reputation for accurate, well-written information, the team have tried to make religious freedom a “mainstream issue”, i.e. one that is important to everyone. Christians welcome the fortnightly prayer calendars. 120000 booklets are sent out for the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP). Electronic newsletters and books are appreciated by believers and non-believers alike. National newspapers, TV and radio regularly report stories and ask for interviews. Parliamentarians refer to RLC information.

The example of the German RLC shows how God can bless a small team’s work. Some EA’s send out occasional prayer or news items or encourage participation in IDOP. Others point their constituency to specialist sources of information (Open Doors, Forum 18 etc). Others write to their governments or to embassies. Whatever you do, please be encouraged that your actions make a difference. If you have a particular contact person on religious liberty, please let me know.


And, if you have not been able to do much on religious liberty yet, could I encourage you to consider starting in simple ways? Excellent prayer summaries and news briefings are available from WEA. Contact eliz@alphalink.com.au to subscribe. And consider participating in the International Day of Prayer (12 or 19 November). Resources will be available soon at www.idop.org .

Please contact me for advice on your religious liberty problems or on helping others. I would be happy to provide more information about Asian persecution on request.

Julia Doxat-Purser

eea@community-house.co.uk

Translation

Volunteers are needed to translate WEA & IDOP materials. Please let me know of anyone who could help.