American Pastor Held by Turkey Charged with Trying to Destroy Constitutional Order, Overthrow Parliament
(By Bridget Johnson published online at PJ Media, Aug. 24, 2017)
Despite pleas from the U.S. government to free a North Carolina pastor who made Turkey his home for more than two decades, the Turkish government has charged Andrew Brunson with attempting to destroy the country’s constitutional order and overthrow their parliament.
Brunson has been sitting behind bars since last year, swept up in President RecepTayyip Erdoğan’s engulfing purge of perceived enemies. Hurriyet
reported that the new charges against Brunson came from a different court.
Daily Sabah, a pro-government newspaper, reported that Brunson had been transferred to a maximum security facility and faces the possibility of four consecutive life sentences.
Since the failed July coup attempt, Erdoğan’s Islamist government has detained124,685 people, arrested 58,120, fired 145,711 people of varying professions via government decree, shut down 2,099 schools, fired 7,316 academics, dismissed 4,424 judges and prosecutors, closed 184 media outlets, and imprisoned 300 journalists.
After Erdoğan visited Washington in May, the White House said President Trump had “raised the incarceration of Pastor Andrew Brunson and asked that the Turkish Government expeditiously return him to the United States.”
In unveiling the State Department’s religious freedom report this month, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the United States “continues to advocate” for the release of Brunson, “who has been wrongfully imprisoned in Turkey.”
Brunson is also charged with conducting political and military espionage, according to Hurriyet.
The American Center for Law & Justice has been representing Brunson. ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow is a member of Trump’s legal team for the Russia investigation.
“Pastor Brunson has not been forgotten,” State Department press secretary Heather Nauert told reporters today. “The safety and security of Americans is one of our top priorities here at the State Department.” She said consular officers have visited him “regularly,” but did not know when they last saw Brunson.
(Photo courtesy of ACLJ)
How to Pray for Andrew Brunson:
Pray for the truth to come to light. All the accusations made by the Turkish government against Andrew are false. Pray that the accusers would judge Andrew according to the truth and not according to the lies about him. We can declare Romans 8:31–37 over Andrew — If God is for Andrew, who can be against Him? In all things Andrew is more than a conqueror through Him who loves us!
Pray for the U.S. government & the ACLJ’s continued efforts. As mentioned in the article, the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stated that the United States is continuing to advocate for Andrew’s release. Pray that divine strategy and wisdom would come to the U.S. government in how to proceed in its efforts to free Andrew. Also, pray for those representing Andrew at the American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ). We can declare Galatians 6:9–10 over them — Do not grow weary in intervening on Andrew’s behalf, for this is good, and in the right time there will be a harvest of justice!
Pray that Andrew would be encouraged and strengthened. Andrew was detained last October and has not been released since then. Pray that God would encourage him and strengthen him during this season. That God would encounter Andrew with encouraging dreams, and fill his heart with light in the midst of this darkness that is around him. We can declare Colossians 1:11–14 over him — Andrew will be strengthened with all power according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy! Andrew has been delivered from the domain of darkness!
Pray for Andrew’s wife, children and church in Izmir, Turkey. Pray that they would all continue to lean into the Lord. That they would lean into His strength, His love, and peace that surpasses understanding. We can declare Philippians 4:6–8 over them — they will be anxious for nothing! The peace of God will guard their hearts and minds.