Defending Life Here – By Defending It “Over There”

Not everyone understands why an organization like Alliance Defending Freedom – a group that has its hands more than full grappling with the extraordinary legal challenges facing those who want to live out their faith, honor marriage, and preserve human life in the U.S. – would want to extend itself into the legal defense of people beyond our own borders.  Don’t the good people of Asia, Africa, South America, and Europe have enough able attorneys of their own, without our having to spread our own ministry’s resources a little thinner?

Well, yes – and no. Certainly the world doesn’t lack for lawyers, many of them Christian, many of them extremely gifted and with courage aplenty to take on the great challenges unique to their own nations. Only … it’s a small world, now, as the Disney folks like to remind us, and as it keeps shrinking, the legal challenges to people of faith become increasingly less unique. The bells that toll for our brothers and sisters overseas are now ringing within earshot of American courtrooms. What impacts these other nations will – sooner than later – impact your family and mine as well.

President Franklin Roosevelt used to explain Lend Lease – his program for sharing resources with England to fight a global war we were not yet involved in – by comparing the situation to a man whose neighbor’s house was on fire.  If the other house were burning, couldn’t the man at least turn his garden hose on the flames … not only out of duty to his neighbor, but to keep the flames from spreading to his own home?

While it’s getting warmer in our country, the flames are already burning hot in nations like India, where, in recent years, hundreds of thousands of believers have been attacked and, in many cases, killed for their faith. The All India Christian Council estimates that 84,000 people have been accused of violence against Christians in India’s Orissa province alone – and yet only 478 of those have been convicted … mostly for “smaller” offenses, like burning houses and damaging property. Only nine people have been convicted for their role in killing Christians.

On February 8, Tehmina Arora – who lives and works in India – testified before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations about the increasing persecution of Christians in India and how few of the persecutors are being punished for their crimes.

“Christians should have their legal rights protected no matter what country they are in,” Arora says. “The persecution of Christians in India calls for a concerted legal effort to deter future attacks and to bring about justice. Emergency measures must be taken to stop the brutal torture and ruthless murder of Christians and the senseless destruction of their property.”

Most of the violence in India is being caused by religious extremism – in Belgium, the government itself is helping to perpetrate things. Incredibly, on February 6, Belgium’s Chamber of Deputies actually voted 86-44 to pass a law allowing children to kill themselves. Our attorneys provided legal analysis to members of the Belgian Parliament, pointing out the law’s underlying premise: that life is not worth living, and that children are somehow emotionally mature enough to make such grave decisions about their own lives.

“No civilized society allows children to kill themselves,” says Senior Legal Counsel Roger Kiska. “Belgium’s decision to allow this is grotesquely abhorrent and inhumane. [It] exploits vulnerable children by handing to them a ‘freedom’ that they are completely ill-equipped to bear.”

Please be in prayer for our overseas attorneys, as they work diligently to preserve and defend life for all of us by heading off legal extremities that threaten – more deeply than most of us realize – the sanctity of life in our own nation.

Author: Alan Sears