By Patrick Mahoney
Pastor Saeed Abedini is a Iranian born U. S. citizen who is being held in an Iranian prison for his Christian faith.
The Washington, D.C. based Christian Defense Coalition and Faith and Action are asking Christians all across America to set an empty place setting for Pastor Saeed at their Christmas dinners.
The place setting will challenge the faith community to pray for Pastor Saeed and also to remember the thousands of Christians who are in prison and separated from their families at Christmas because they are being persecuted for their faith.
Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, states,
“While Americans sit down with their families and friends to celebrate the joy of Christmas, there are thousands of Christians around the world who are imprisoned and persecuted for their faith like Pastor Abedini.
“‘Leave a Christmas Place Setting for Pastor Saeed,’ will serve as clear witness to pray and remember all those who are are imprisoned and being brutalized around the world because of their Christian faith.
“The empty place setting is a powerful graphic that fathers will not be with their children this Christmas. Mothers will be separated from their families and children will be apart from their brothers and sisters.
“It is critical during this Special Season of the year, that the American church stands in solidarity with their brothers and sisters around who are being brutalized, tortured and imprisoned because of their faithful witness for Christ.
“We must never forget their sacrifice and we must always remember their suffering.”
Rev. Rob Schenck, President of Faith and Action, adds;
“Remembering our imprisoned brothers and sisters, and all persecuted and oppressed Christians worldwide, is in keeping with the whole Christmas story. Jesus and his parents would flee persecution and become refugees. They went into hiding.
“Jesus would later suffer imprisonment, torture, and death because of his obedience to God. Nothing could be more fitting for Christmas than to set a place for Pastor Saeed. Let us always remember.”