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Tina Ramirez: The Struggle to End Religious Oppression

By September 22, 2014Uncategorized
Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” 

Matthew 14:15-16

Before leaving for Iraq, Tina Ramirez was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to join the students of Regent Law in a lunch series event hosted by the Center for Global Justice and Journal of Global Justice & Public Policy on the issue of religious oppression. According to Tina Ramirez, founder and Executive Director of Hardwired Global, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting religious freedom, religious oppression is a major contributor to numerous social evils, including human trafficking and child marriages. The antidote for change is religious freedom. Hardwired zealously advocates and promotes for the right of religious freedom by training individuals to bring the fight to their government’s front steps. The name “Hardwired” comes from the notion that everyone “of us [is] hardwired for something bigger” and that we are all made “for something spiritual.” Because of this “hardwiring,” Tina believes that everyone should be given the opportunity to pursue their special purpose, to seek the god of their choosing and to practice their religion without fear of oppression.

Tina introduced us to Meriam Ibrahim, a 27-year old Sudanese woman who was arrested last May and charged with adultery and apostasy in Sudan. Meriam was accused of adultery because the Sudanese government refused to recognize her marriage to a Christian man. The government considered Meriam an apostate because she left the Islamic tradition held by her father. After being convicted, she was forced not only to bear the weight of her chains attached to the floor of her jail cell, but also to bear the psychological weight of capital punishment until she agreed to recant her Christian faith. However, Meriam never lost her faith, and through the birth of her son in prison, Meriam has now been delivered from the oppressive country she once called home.

Hardwired focuses not just on rescuing individuals like Meriam, but also on carrying out a two-fold mission designed to affect systemic change: (1) advocating for laws in favor of religious freedom and (2) inspiring oppressive countries to adopt new customs shying away from religious oppression. Tina stands determined to train individuals to accomplish that goal in many areas of the globe, and her hope is that we become a generation of students that not only stay informed on the issues relating to religious oppression, but also diligently seek to compel our government to take action against countries that continue to violate the fundamental right to freedom of religion. Tina calls us to bear our cross, to help dispense religious freedom, and to strive to correct the oppression around the globe. I thank her for her passion and for her faith in letting God take the smallness of her portion and feed a multitude of nations.