Religious liberty is under attack, but if we think it’s bad here, it’s far worse in many places around the world where religious persecution winds up as slavery, torture and even death.
Seventy million refugees worldwide have been displaced from their homes due to religious persecution. As a former U.S. congressman for Virginia, Thomas Garrett has seen the tragedy up close. He played an instrumental role in getting Sudan to release imprisoned Christian pastors and helped in bringing their families to the United States.
Now Garrett is trying to raise public support and money for a documentary that will break ground on this very tragic and important issue. He's leading the way in a new trailer for the film called “Exile.”
Garrett believes he’s found his purpose.
“God's put us all here, every one of us for a reason and I believe in that butterfly effect. I'm not a hippie, right? But I mean, you do something good for somebody that causes them to do something good, and then ultimately it might change the world. And so Matt comes to me and says, 'Will you do Exile Series.com? Will you do this project?' And I'm like, 'What? Seriously?' I like feeling small, right? If you like going to the desert or the ocean or the mountains, to know that there's something so much bigger than us.”
And right now the biggest challenge is getting the six-part documentary series made. Right now the funding is coming from ordinary Americans through crowdfunding. Producers say big studios won’t touch it because of financial interests in many countries where religious persecution is present.
“Hollywood won't tell this story and here's why. We've been to the big studios. They've said, ‘Oh, great product, can you do it without talking bad about China?’ That's like making a documentary about the Beatles and not mentioning John,” he said.
Garrett and filmmaker Matt Whitworth are determined to succeed without corporate support and time is of the essence. More than 340 million Christians live under high levels of persecution, as well as Muslims, Jews, and many other faiths.
“My duty as a Christian is to help Jews, to help Muslims to help Yazidis, to help Siks, to help Hindus, to help human beings. That's what Jesus would have wanted us to do,” he said.
They’ve got Jesus on their side. Now they need money too.