Ohioans Participate in Nationwide Rally for the Persecuted Outside Offices of Lobbyists Squire Patton Boggs


COLUMBUS, Ohio — Concerned Ohioans gathered outside the offices of lobbyist lawyers Squire Patton Boggs (SPB) on Wednesday to rally for persecuted Christians and other religious minorities who are denied basic rights, harmed physically and economically, and sometimes killed by these governments, their clients. Persecutors include: China, Cameroon, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the Palestinian Authority.

The rally occurred nationwide outside SPB offices in 15 cities, including Cleveland, Ohio, where it was founded as Squire, Sanders & Dempsey in 1890. The Columbus rally was held outside the Huntington Building downtown at 41 South High Street.

According to Open Doors USA, these countries that SPB represents are in the top 50 list of persecutors of Christians. They commit “extreme persecution.” Saudi Arabia is ranked 15th, China 27th, Qatar’s at number 38 and the Palestinian Territories are 49th.

Rankings are based on pressure applied to Christians and the level of violence. To their credit, SPB dropped Sudan as a client last December. They are the sixth worst persecutor of Christians in the world.

On May 1, a coalition of 45 faith leaders, politicians and others sent a letter to SPB’s Chairman and Global CEO Mark Ruehlmann “out of a shared concern that foreign governments represented by your firm are among the world’s most aggressive persecutors of people of faith.”

The letter cited China’s “systematic repression of every religious minority…Uyghur Muslims experience oppressive surveillance, forced DNA collection and incarceration with over 1 million imprisoned in so-called ‘political reeducation’ centers…The Chinese government has also been destroying Protestant and Catholic churches…Recently they have also begun offering rewards for revealing information about where they [Christians] secretly gather for worship.”

T. J. Honerlaw, who drove two hours to Columbus from Mason, shared, “As citizens we need to defend religious liberties and stand up to companies that profit from countries and organizations that persecute.”

Lori Viars, a Republican activist from southwestern Ohio, said SPB “could be part of the solution of helping curtail these abuses.”

“Pray for the persecuted church,” Linda Harvey of Mission America pleaded. “There has never been a time in history when Christians have been persecuted to the level that they are today. It is time for the American church and the church in the West to stand up and draw attention to this problem, to defend our religious liberty and never take it for granted. And for Pastors to take a stand and preach about it from the pulpits – and for the media to cover it!”

One passerby stopped and expressed interest in the gathering. Jewish by heritage, he agreed with the concerns about persecution of religious minorities. “I’m against anti-Semitism,” he said. “I’m a Zionist and I support Israel’s right to exist. I don’t support violence – I’d like to see a peaceful resolution to the situation in the Middle East. I’m here because I’m against religious persecution. They [SPB] have a right to represent those countries, but we have a right to call them out on it.”

Save the Persecuted Christians, founded by Frank Gaffney, Jr., who was part of the Reagan Administration, hosted the rallies along with Nations in Action.

The purpose was to “highlight religious persecution on an unprecedented, genocidal scale,” said Gaffney’s media advisory. “Participants will urge prominent law firm Squire Patton Boggs to cease representation of countries that engage in or tolerate such crimes.”

Another letter was presented to the offices of SPB by rally attendees Wednesday. It pointed out that SPB has some prominent attorneys and advisers, including Ohio’s own John Boehner, who “surely…have no desire to be associated with, let alone involved in defending or otherwise being implicated in, these governments’ odious practices.”

At the end of the rally, Honerlaw mentioned Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who died a martyr in Germany. Vonerlaw said Bonhoeffer was right: “Silence in the face of evil is evil itself.”

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Beth Lear is a reporter at The Ohio Star.  Follow Beth on Twitter.  Email tips to [email protected].







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