By Lydia O’Kane
“Light Red, wear red, tweet red.” That’s the message for this #RedWednesday 2018 as people in the UK and in others 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, and as ACN’s Head of Press and Information (UK), John Pontifex explains, 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 colour of red which is associated with the colour 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 to say that, this year they are thinking of countries like Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, China, as well as, 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…”
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
John Pontifex says that ACN is encouraging people to, “light up your buildings red, floodlight them red; we know a number of churches, cathedrals across, certainly the UK and beyond 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. Around a dozen Cathedrals in the UK will also be floodlit in red as part of the initiative including, St Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham, London's Southwark (Anglican) Cathedral, and St Mirin's Cathedral, in Paisley, Scotland.