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Region   Latin America
Population   50 220 000
Christian Population   47 706 000 (95.0%)
Main Religion   Christianity
2021 Ranking   30
2020 Ranking   41

30Colombia

In Colombia, a largely Christian country, persecution is localized—and violent. Church leaders are threatened, harassed, extorted and even murdered as a result of the violence perpetrated by guerrillas and other criminal groups, especially in the country’s more remote areas. In most cases, this violence is the direct result of Christians denouncing corruption and violence, working for the defence of human and environmental rights, serving among youth, and pursuing peace and justice—all endangering the illegal activities of the criminal groups. Christians are seen as impediments to the forced recruitment of people, especially youth, to rebel groups and to the drug trade and organized crime that pay for these groups.

In indigenous communities, significant opposition exists toward Christian missionaries and indigenous converts, who can face imprisonment, physical abuse and the confiscation of property, among other forms of punishment.

In addition, there seems to be an increasing intolerance for Christians in the public sphere and an emphasis on secularism over and above a pluralistic society that values all voices, including Christians. Christians can be wrongly seen as bigots or discriminatory, and opposition to historical Christian beliefs has been violent at times.

Meet Pastor Alberto*

“One day, I received a note from one of these [criminal] gangs saying that if I didn’t cooperate with their ‘cause,’ then I shouldn’t be in this town. They also said that all young people must be part of their groups.”

*Name changed for security reasons

pray

Pray for Colombia

  • Pray for Christians in indigenous communities in Colombia. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, indigenous communities are restricting access to their communities and, in some cases, blocking roads that lead to their native lands. These actions prevent missionaries from reaching out to Christians and even providing help.
  • Pray for Christians living in areas controlled by rebel and criminal groups. Pray God would keep them safe and give them courage to continue to live out and preach His Gospel.
  • Pray for the families of church leaders who have been killed in Colombia this year. Pray God will be their comfort and will bring them healing from trauma.

What does Open Doors do to help Christians in Colombia?

Guerrilla groups in Colombia are known to recruit Christian Colombian children. For this reason, the Open Doors Children’s Centre was established in Colombia as a place to protect children whose families have been threatened or displaced, and for those who are at risk of being recruited.

Open Doors also supports Christians in indigenous communities with training and with the setting up of Christian education for indigenous children. Open Doors strengthens the persecuted Church in Colombia further by developing and delivering Bible materials and bringing emergency aid.

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