Rev. Dr. Keith Roderick of Christian Solidarity International Speaks at the July 21, 2005 Washington DC Anti-Persecution Rally
Every year, human rights organizations like Christian Solidarity International, and the others who will speak with you today, join with you in protest of the Chinese government's oppressive policy towards freedom, especially religious liberty. Each year we hope it will improve, but each year it is increasingly more deplorable. Nevertheless, the practitioners of Falun Gong, Christians and others defy these policies by exposing themselves to arrests, beatings, torture and even death. And again we stand in solidarity with you, as you press forward for the great inspiring effort to bring freedom and religious liberty to China.
The Chinese government is able to block websites that use the word "freedom"; it is able to arrest those expressing their first human right to free exercise of conscience. It is unable, though, to read the minds and the hearts of the Chinese people, for if it could, it would see that freedom enlivens the people's imagination and inflames a passion for liberty that is irresistible and cannot be conquered by violence and oppression.
So what you are doing here today is very important. It's significant not only for you, but for all believers. You are supporting those who are suffering today and those who will suffer tomorrow, in the future, for the right to practice the dictates of conscience. And this is a struggle that takes great courage.
The courageous person is not the one who is exceptionally strong or powerful or clever. The truly courageous person is the one exceptionally devoted to doing the right thing and risking all in order to achieve that effort.
So today I leave you with this: continue to be courageous as you seek justice. Be courageous by showing the best of human nature, even as that which arises from man's worst nature is directed against you. And if you don't achieve liberty in the near future, be assured that I and all these friends who join you up front today will be here next year and we'll bring more people to join your effort. Thank you.