Is the International Religious Freedom Alliance Just a Paper Tiger?

Header image depicts Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and Ambassador-At-Large for Religious Freedom Sam Brownback at the International Religious Freedom Alliance dinner at the Department of State in Washington, D.C., on February 5, 2020. [State Department Photo by Ron Przysucha/ Public Domain]
Vocabulary.com defines “paper tiger” as an entity that appears powerful but is actually ineffectual. Critics might claim this is a fitting description of the new International Religious Freedom Alliance, while supporters laud its potential.

Isaac Six with Open Doors USA says the coalition could create opportunities for Gospel workers by making religious freedom a global priority. “Where are the missionaries at, and what’s keeping them from being able to share their faith with others?” he asks.

“Often, there are either societal or governmental pressures or regulations that really, really inhibit the freedom of people to share the Gospel.”

What is the International Religious Freedom Alliance?

The International Religious Freedom Alliance launched last week at the U.S. National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. It’s the first group of its kind, with 27 countries committed to five principles.

“Honestly, most countries don’t bring this issue (religious freedom) up as one of their top priorities,” Six explains. “So, anything you can do to make this a part of the normal discussion [between countries] is great.”

Efforts to secure global focus on religious freedom came up this summer during the U.S. Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom.  Additionally, President Trump underscored U.S. commitment to the issue in September. Alliance members continue this emphasis.

“The Alliance determined to be proactive in their work, not just… ‘We all agree on these principles and will sort of passively make sure everything’s fine’,” Six says.

Instead, Alliance members decided “we’re going to pro-actively work on promoting religious freedom, not just in our own countries, but in other countries as well.”

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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Katey Hearth

CALL TO ACTION

  • Ask the Lord to guide decision-makers. Pray for wisdom and discernment.
  • Pray believers worldwide will benefit as the Alliance gains traction.