The IHRG at Major Sporting Events

I think it is important for us to explain what we do at major sporting events around the world—events like the Olympic Games and World Cup Soccer Tournaments.  These events attract tens or even hundreds of thousands of visitors who are perfectly willing to have conversations with people from other cultures about a variety of topics, including religious belief.  These events are an ideal place for Christian missionaries to share their faith.

 

The only problem with these events is that often overzealous government officials, both local and national, attempt to stop the exercise of free speech rights in public places.  That is where the IHRG comes into these events.

 

We have a complete program that works to stop problems before they happen.  This program is has been tested live at a number of major sporting events.  At the same time, we are on the ground during the events to make sure that problems that arise at the last minute are taken care of quickly so that ministry is not stopped or hindered.

 

Our program is simple; we begin with written legal documents that explain the law to government officials and organizing committees on the ground in nations where these events are taking place.  Our letter methodically lays out the law regarding freedom of speech in public places.  It shows the longstanding right to share your faith in public places.

 

We also work with missionaries, mission organizations, and ministry leaders to educate the men and women who will be on the street sharing their faith.  We help them understand how to interact with police officers and other government officials to avoid being arrested or run off the streets.

 

We also are on the ground during these key events to quickly resolve any problems that occur early in the events.  Our experience, as far back as Atlanta 1996, is that when we are there we can resolve problems instantly and keep missionaries on the street sharing their faith without threat of arrest or other harassments.

 

These outreaches are incredible to watch.  They include everything from one-on-one evangelism as simple as handing out Christian literature to mass outreaches at concerts drawing thousands of people into a public square where they hear the Gospel presented clearly in the local language and English.  They include rebroadcast of the games with Christian discussions during intermissions, through local Christian television.

 

These events include soccer tournaments that double as Christian outreach in local communities throughout the country hosting the events.  These tournaments are participated in by students from the local schools.

 

All of this works to provide a great outreach throughout the country hosting the major sporting event.  And we are in the middle of this protecting the overall rights of those who are performing the outreach to make sure they are able to exercise their rights.

 

We believe these outreaches are critical to the furthering of the Kingdom of God and we are honored to participate in them as legal counsel for religious freedom.

 

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