Baptist World Alliance
Eron Henry, Associate Director of Communications
Neville Callam, General Secretary
Phone: +1 703 790 8980
Fax: +1 703 893 5160

December 1, 2010

For Immediate Release
A call for prayer for countries holding elections

Washington (BWA)-- The Baptist World Alliance calls for prayer regarding several presidential and general elections that have been held or that are planned in a number of countries.

Brazil in South America; Moldova in Europe; Egypt, Côte d'Ivoire, Tanzania and Guinea in Africa; Myanmar in Asia; and Haiti in the Caribbean, all held elections over the past several weeks and days. Sudan, the largest country in Africa, is scheduled to hold a referendum on January 9 of next year to determine if the country should be divided between north and south or remain as one.

The BWA rejoices that in some of these elections, the votes were conducted peacefully and the will of the people was respected. The BWA also takes note of concerns raised by observers and participants that some national elections have been less than fair and were not free from fear.  Electioneering, in some instances, caused great instability. Indeed, deaths have reportedly taken place during election campaigns and the conduct of elections themselves.

Baptists and other Christians in these countries are not unaffected by the instability and the violence that take place during election time. Some Baptists may have been victims. We would hate to think that Baptists have been perpetrators.  What we do know is that Baptists, like other citizens, have, and do, exercise the franchise to vote. We strongly support the exercise of this franchise. We also urge election officials and political leaders to ensure that elections are conducted in the absence of fear, and that the published results reflect the will of the people.

Accordingly, we call upon Baptists everywhere to pray for countries that conduct and hold elections, remembering that, in many instances, their Christian brothers and sisters are involved as well. We especially ask prayers for Haiti as this country holds an election even while it grapples with the after effects of the massive earthquake that occurred on January 12, as well as with the recent outbreak of cholera that has killed more than 1,600 and affected thousands more. Yet, in the midst of this, Haiti had the fortitude to conduct elections on November 28 to elect a new president, senators and deputies.

We also ask for special prayers for Sudan as citizens in the south, which has thousands of Christians including Baptists, vote as to whether the south should secede, thus creating two new nations.  We ask Baptists to pray that the government in Khartoum will respect the will of the people in this referendum planned for January 9, 2011.

As Baptists, we affirm our support of the cause of freedom, human rights and justice, including those inhered in the right of citizens to elect leaders of their own choosing.