International (MNN) — Religious freedom is a big deal in the United States. Its protection is enshrined in the Constitution, and a government commission is dedicated to monitoring religious freedom in other countries.

There’s a special day dedicated to this freedom in January. Religious liberty even plays a role in preventing instability.

(Photo courtesy of Transform Iran)

Denise Godwin with International Media Ministries explains, “Dictating religion doesn’t leave a lot of room for people to choose. When people have the choice, there is a bit more stability.”

Religious freedom holds less significance globally. Roughly one in four countries restricts the ability of its people to share their faith or change it to another.

“You see in Iran the results of the top-down dictation of many rights; not just religious rights, but women’s rights, freedoms,” Godwin says.

“You see dissatisfaction in young people, a crumbling economy, people who want something different on the street.”

Street protests in Iran ushered in the Islamic Revolution 45 years ago this month. Today, rebellious acts are a death sentence, and following Christ is forbidden.

“People in Iran do not have the freedom to choose, so they’re being arrested, killed, lashed with whips; they’re being sentenced,” Godwin says.

Pray that Iranians will discover Jesus through IMM’s programs in Farsi. “Story often goes past rioting and protesting and laws and gets into the soul in a different way,” Godwin says.


Header image depicts “Religious Liberty”, a statue commissioned by B’nai B’rith and dedicated in 1876 to “the people of the United States” as an expression of support for the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom. (Wikimedia Commons)