Carl Moeller is president and CEO of Open Doors USA, which was founded in 1955 by Brother Andrew. The organization is involved in Bible and literature distribution, leadership training, Christian community development, and reporting about Christians in restrictive countries. Open Doors is one of the organizations participating in the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (November 11) to remember especially what they call "secret believers"—Muslim converts to Christianity. Moeller spoke with CT about the religious rights of Christians throughout the world.

What qualifies as persecution?

We tend to think of persecution as a continuum. People can be ridiculed and mocked for their faith, but it ends on sort of a scale with martyrdom and torture.

What is the point of prayer and aid for people in persecuted countries?

We believe that the important role that the church has to play in every culture is to be a source of hope and healing. Jesus called it salt and light. If the church leaves because of persecution or pressure, if Christians flee, where will that salt and light come from? So our job is not to remove Christians from persecution, but it's to strengthen them. Christian support, love, commitment, prayer, physical and tangible resources so that they can remain where they are and ultimately that they can see the kingdom of God advance even in a situation as desperate as a persecution context.

Where are circumstances improving for Christians?

In a number of countries around the world, persecution is improving, but on a general scale persecution is increasing.

We have a number of places that have improved, like Vietnam. But it's still in the top 10 worst places in the world for persecution.

Afghanistan, the last ...

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