As increasing episodes of religiously motivated violence and oppression capture international attention, Concordia Seminary students are leading a conversation on religious persecution at a forum March 11, 2015, at 10:45 a.m. CST in Werner Auditorium.
Featured speaker Stephanie Hammond, policy adviser at World Vision, will offer insights and observations on this difficult and painful topic. Attendees also will discuss, contribute, and learn how to take action against religious persecution, an international juggernaut that BBC News describes as “a threat to everyone.”
Why This Matters Now
In the last year alone, the world has watched religiously-tied groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Boko Haram commit countless individual and widespread acts of violence. Furthermore, while Sudanese Christian mother Meriam Ibrahim was released from a near death sentence for her faith, others have not been as fortunate; Pastor Saeed Abedini, for example, remains in an Iranian prison.
The plight extends beyond these notorious cases. Pew Research Center reports that over 5.3 billion people—76 percent of the global population—live in countries with high restrictions on religion. A 2014 report on religious freedom by the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need found that religious freedom is compromised in 116 of 196 surveyed nations. Closer to home, Americans have observed the encroachments on religious freedom as Hobby Lobby fought for its health care policy on contraception and same-sex marriage is legalized in more and more states.
About Stephanie Hammond
Stephanie Hammond serves at World Vision as the policy adviser for conflicts and disasters. Previously, Hammond was the foreign policy adviser in the office of U.S. Representative Trent Franks (AZ-08). In that role she served as the staff lead for the International Religious Freedom Caucus, a bipartisan coalition of 80 members of Congress who address global religious persecution. She also has addressed the United Nations on foreign policy, human rights, religious freedom, global health, and refugee issues.
Hammond graduated summa cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis where she completed a thesis on the early history of the British eugenics movement with the history and biology departments. She studied at Christ Church, Oxford University as a scholar through the C.S. Lewis Foundation and is a candidate for the Joint Professional Military Education Certificate at the U.S. Air Command and Staff College.
About Concordia Seminary
Concordia Seminary provides Gospel-centered graduate-level theological education for pastors, missionaries, deaconesses, scholars and other leaders in the name of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). Since its founding in 1839, Concordia Seminary has equipped more than 12,000 graduates to serve Church and world. Today, a world-renowned faculty teaches more than 600 students in the classroom, off-campus, and online. Learn more at www.csl.edu.