Speaking up for faith and freedom on #RedWednesday

Landmark buildings, churches and cathedrals will be lit up in red for #RedWednesday, in solidarity with persecuted Christians and faith minorities who suffer discrimination because of their beliefs.

“Light Red, wear red, tweet red.” That’s the message for this #RedWednesday 2018 as people in the UK, U.S., and other parts of the world highlight the plight of those who suffer religious persecution and who suffer for their faith.

Shining a light on faith based persecution

This initiative has been organized by Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need in association with Christian Solidarity Worldwide.

John Pontifex, spokesman for Aid to the Church,  explained that they want to, “shine a light on those parts of the world where Christian’s and others are persecuted for their faith and where it’s clear that not enough attention is being given to their plight. So, what we’ve done is to select the color of red which is associated with the color of martyrdom. So, we’re thinking of all those who carry their cross in a time of enormous difficulty and who sometimes have to pay the ultimate price.”

He goes on to say that, this year, they are thinking of countries like Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, China, and many parts of Africa, “where the suffering of people simply wanting to live out their faith in due conscience with due respect for the law is frequently undermined.”

Religious Freedom

In a recent report by Aid to the Church in Need on Religious Freedom, it found that some 61% of the world’s population live in countries where religious freedom is not respected. Among them are almost 300 million Christians, or 1 in 7, who live in a country of persecution, subject to violence, arrest, and human rights violations.

Red Wednesday in solidarity

Pontifex said that ACN is encouraging people to, “light up your buildings red, floodlight them red; we know a number of churches and cathedrals … are lighting red. We’re inviting people to wear a red tie, wear a red scarf, or wear a red hat, or even red shoes to draw attention to Red Wednesday. And the third and the most obvious thing to do is to tweet or to use other forms of social media to shine a light on religious persecution by tweeting the phrase #Red Wednesday, so that we get this momentum of awareness about the plight of those who suffer and about our determination to stand in solidarity with them in prayer and in action.”

Among the many events taking place this #RedWednesday will be an evening procession to Westminster Cathedral in London.

By Lydia O’Kane/Vatican News

Top photo, CNS/Tyler Orsburn: The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington is seen at dusk Nov. 26. The exterior of the shrine is illuminated red to call attention to Christians around the world enduring persecution.

Photo by Vatican News: Venice, Italy, floodlit in red.