Believe it or not: Euro evangelicals back new freedom of religion movement

A Europe-wide campaign for freedom of religion and belief (FoRB) has won the backing of evangelical Christians.

The European Platform against Intolerance and Discrimination (EPRID) launched its new #FoRBDefender movement this week under the slogan, 'Believe it or not, it's my Right!'

It is aimed at raising awareness of the right to freedom of religion or belief around the world, especially where people face discrimination or violence because of their religious belief or lack of it. The campaign also aims to spur policy-makers to a more robust defence of a fundamental human right.

Supporters are encouraged to use the FoRB Defender logo.

Supporters are encouraged to share a selfie with the 'Believe it or not' logo, to use #FORB on social media and to display the logo on their social media profiles.

The campaign has been developed by EPRID and Christian Solidarity Wordwide (CSW), the European Humanist Federation, the International Humanist and Ethical Union and the Nordic Ecumenical Network on Freedom of Religion or Belief.

Amy Shepherd, CSW's EU advocacy manager and member of EPRID's 2018 board of coordinators, said: 'Across the world, people's freedom to choose, manifest, change and abandon their religion or belief is under threat. There is an urgent need to stand up for FoRB and press decision-makers for more concrete and visible protective action.'

The European Evangelical Alliance called on its members to back the campaign, saying: 'Freedom of Religion or Belief is way too precious a human right to take for granted. We have to stand united in defending and promoting it, close to home but also in the rest of the world.'

Dr Dave Landrum, director of advocacy at the UK Evangelical Alliance, said: 'Evangelicals have always had a particular interest in supporting human rights, because the gospel is synonymous with freedom both individually and socially. As we approach the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it's encouraging that the value of Freedom of Religion and Belief is being recognised afresh through this initiative.

'At a time when the rights of religion are being challenged by the religion of rights, it's vital for our liberal democracy that we understand how religious freedom is the foundation for all our other human rights and civil liberties. I hope that this initiative helps to affirm that vital truth for all people, whether of faith or no faith.'

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