Open Doors Applauds New Appointment in State Department for Protection from Religious Persecution

The State Department has finally appointed someone to the Special Envoy for Religious Minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia, a position that Open Doors USA has been advocating to be filled since its opening in August 2014. Knox Thames, previously the director of policy, will fill the role, which focuses on being a voice to those who are marginalized because of their faith, such as Christians in Muslim-dominated countries.

Since Congress passed the Special Envoy last summer, Open Doors USA has had an ongoing petition urging President Obama to appoint someone to this crucial role. There were 11,000 signatories before the appointment.

“Open Doors USA is grateful for the appointment of Knox Thames,” said David Curry, president and CEO of Open Doors USA. “This means that someone in the State Department will be dedicated to hearing the plight of those suffering due to religious persecution and, hopefully, a voice in the government to provide aid.”

Kristin Wright, director of advocacy for Open Doors USA, echoed his sentiments: “Widespread support of Open Doors’ petition illustrated a growing concern for protecting religious minorities in volatile areas of the world. Thames brings a wealth of relevant experience to this position and we are grateful he is coming in.”

Currently some 100 million Christians are persecuted for their faith across the world. Open Doors USA is predicting that 2015 will be the worst year for persecution against Christians in modern times. On January 13, the organization will release its 2016 World Watch List, which chronicles the top 50 countries where it is most difficult and dangerous to be a Christian.

About Open Doors USA: 

For 60 years, Open Doors USA has worked in the world's most oppressive and restrictive countries in support of persecuted Christians. Open Doors works to equip and encourage Christians living in dangerous circumstances with the threat of persecution and equips the Western church to advocate on their behalf. Christians are the most persecuted religious group in the world and are oppressed in at least 60 countries. For more information, visit