Christians in peril

If one member suffers, all suffer together: 1. Cor 12:26

In many parts of the world, Christians face discrimination, marginalization, and oppression. Awareness for this has grown among the global public. The dramatic situation faced by refugees from the warzones of the Middle East is symptomatic of this development. There, adherence to a Christian confession can be met with threats and violence.

The PCS stands in solidarity with Christians in peril and calls upon its members to provide aid and support. The PCS itself speaks out in this regard, particularly in terms of its international relations and at the political level. The words of Paul, “If one member suffers, all suffer together” (1. Cor 12:26), serve as a model for this assistance. The PCS paper on “Solidarity with Christians facing discrimination and peril” (Solidarität mit diskriminierten und bedrohten Christen) reflects upon the many and varied efforts to support human rights, interreligious dialogue, and international and intercultural understanding. Article 18 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights on the freedom of conscience and religion broke particular ground with regard to protecting the beliefs and religious identity of all.

Forms of violence against the adherents, groups, and institutions of particular religions are as complex as the rhetoric that motivates them. They need to be analyzed in detail. The perilous situations that are faced by Christian churches and their members need to be viewed within the context of their ethnic, historical, political, and socioeconomic conditions. At the same time, overgeneralizations must not cloud our view of specific situations. Particular incidents ultimately need to be understood in their legal and cultural contexts.

To this end, the PCS published its Impulse 7 paper in 2009 on “Solidarity and action: Christians facing discrimination and peril in the world” (Solidarisieren und handeln: diskriminierte und bedrohte Christen in der Welt).

Since 2012, the PCS has intensified its relations and solidarity with the (Protestant) Christians of the Middle East, whether through visits to Egypt and Lebanon, participation in and support of important conferences, actions of solidarity, exchanges of information, or by inviting  actors and experts from the Middle East to Switzerland.

The PCS also established an exchange forum in 2015 on the topic of “Christians in peril” together with the “Religious Freedom” Working Group of the Swiss Evangelical Alliance (SEA/RES). All participants welcomed the common working basis, including representatives of Open Doors, Christian Solidarity International (CSI), HEKS/EPER, mission 21, DM-échange et mission, the Reformed Churches of Bern-Jura-Solothurn and Zurich, and others.

In particular cases, the PCS also directly intercedes with Swiss federal authorities or the relevant offices of the countries in question. It participates in the multilateral measures taken by the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Conference of European Churches (CEC) and supports these measures within the framework of the Swiss authorities.

Contact

Serge Fornerod, Vice-director and director of the External relations