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When one man is persecuted for his faith, we're all persecuted

Eduardo Verastegui pic.jpg

Actor Eduardo Verastegui voices the role of Jesus Christ in the Spanish version of the Mark Burnett film "Son of God" which releases in theaters on February 28.

At this very moment in Iran, an America pastor named Saeed Abedini sits in a prison cell: his crime: refusing to be quiet about his faith in Jesus Christ. Across the globe in North Korea, another America named Kenneth Bae also a devout Christian languishes in a North Korean prison camp: his crime: also refusing to be quiet about his Christian faith.

I endure is the occasional snicker from a colleague in Hollywood that I’ve lost my mind to religion.

In the Ukraine, government officials have warned leaders of the Ukranian Greek Catholic church that unless they stop praying in the streets with anti-government protesters, the Church may lose its status as a legitimate religious entity. 

What does this have to do with me, an actor enjoying the good life in Hollywood, California, you might be asking yourself? Well, as it turns out, plenty.

First, I too am a Christian, not a very good one perhaps having made plenty of mistakes in my life, but a Christian nonetheless and when a fellow Christian is suffering anywhere in the world because of his beliefs, I too am suffering.

Second, as the actor who voices the voice of Jesus Christ in the Spanish version of the film "Son of God" a movie which releases in theaters across North America and the world this month, I feel a special responsibility to speak out and do all that I can do see that these two brave Americans are reunited with their families in the United States and freed from captivity.

Finally, here’s why I have a special kinship with these two men: They’re doing the same thing I'm doing: sharing the good news that I’ve experienced, with people that I care deeply about. Fortunately for me, because I reside in the United States I can do so freely and the only “suffering” I endure is the occasional snicker from a colleague in Hollywood that I’ve lost my mind to religion.

But I can assure you that my mind is just as it always was, only it’s been renewed and with that renewal comes a special sensitivity to the suffering of my brothers and sisters around the world-especially those who suffer for doing nothing more than I’ve done with Son of God: telling a great story about a man of history who changed the world, then changed my life. 

I call upon the governments of Iran and North Korea to release these two brave men as a gesture of love and forgiveness and for all governments around the world to respect the right of the Church to speak freely. I also urge my friends in Hollywood to speak up in support of them as well, for, as the story has been told many times, unless we stand up for any human being who is unjustly suffering anywhere in the world, the enemies of human freedom may one day come for us and attempt to deny us  those freedoms.

Eduardo Verastegui voices the role of Jesus Christ in the Spanish version of the Mark Burnett film "Son of God" which releases in theaters on February 28.

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