The Seventh-day Adventist Church believes that government is God’s agency to safeguard individual rights and to conduct civil affairs, and that government officials are entitled to respect and cooperation. The Church also believes in the freedom of all individuals to worship and practice their religious beliefs as their consciences dictate. The Church through its Religious Liberty departments provides information regarding government action that may have some impact on religious freedom and ways in which negatively impacted individuals may seek redress.
The dissemination of religion is not only a Constitutional right, but a joyful responsibility based on a divine mandate to witness. Thus, Emmanuel-Brinklow’s Religious Liberty Department works in concert with the world Church to provide awareness of the invaluable worth and fundamental human rights provided by God’s enduring love and to supply information regarding the best ways to preserve both governmental and religious interests.
An important vehicle in the dissemination of information about religious freedom is Liberty Magazine, the Church’s official publication about religious rights. The Religious Liberty Department oversees the local annual subscription drives for Liberty Magazine
Why Religious Liberty is Important . . .
Without freedom of religion, the church could not function as it does. Any kind of restriction or prejudice can hinder the spread of the gospel and needs to be challenged. Religious liberty has never come easily, and history reveals that much blood was shed in achieving true religious liberty. So its promotion goes without question since it involves the church’s very existence. More than this, our participation in religious liberty for all demonstrates our true Christian character and can be an excellent way of removing prejudices against Adventists. The church has sometimes been the victim of religious intolerance, and therefore identify with the rights of everyone to freely choose their own religious beliefs and to practice their convictions as they see fit. Consequently, the gospel liberty Jesus spoke of needs to be practiced by the church as a witness to all humanity.
Because the Bible promotes religious liberty - The God of the Bible is a God of freedom. He invites choice, offers salvation, and does not use force. He desires a free response—and “whoever has the Son is free indeed.”
To maintain human dignity - There is a de-humanizing effect when man’s religious liberty is removed. Religious liberty is based on the dignity of the human person and is an inalienable right.
For self-protection - We are a minority group, and in particular have experienced religious restriction regarding the Sabbath. When religious liberty is denied, we have much to lose.
For prophetic understanding - nowing what the future holds, and knowing that the Great Controversy is centered on true and false worship—the heart of religious liberty—this vital aspect must be highlighted to the people.
To remove prejudice - We want to reveal ourselves as we are and demonstrate the kind of God we worship to the world. Religious liberty is essential in proclaiming the right God!
To combat religious intolerance - The denial of religious freedom is a frequent cause of conflict and violence. It provokes deep-seated grievances and promotes instability in society. By combating religious intolerance, we demonstrate that our God is not intolerant; that His invitation for salvation is universal.
To promote God’s values and ideals - By supporting religious liberty, we demonstrate God’s values and ideals in practice. It is a highly effective witness for the truth of the gospel, and as we do so, we are “a spectacle to angels and to men.”
Such ideas mean that we have to broaden religious liberty beyond a narrow view of protecting our own beliefs and practices. We cannot accept the view that religious liberty is only for those who have the truth. Liberty implies the freedom to be wrong. Our primary reason for promoting religious liberty is that it is inherently true and right!
NARLA Fellowships - The North American Religious Liberty Association (NARLA) offers one year fellowships to college graduates. Fellows engage in a diverse array of activities including: facilitating the promotion and expansion of the organization through electronic, written, and oral communication with constituents and the general public, organizing and attending meetings with members of Congress, aid in planning Liberty weekend events, website maintenance, video production work with Global Faith and Freedom, writing for the Frontlines newsletter, and overseeing general office responsibilities. Prospective applicants must be spiritually committed, have excellent written and oral communication skills, extensive computer literacy and require minimal oversight. Learn More.
Do You Have a Religious Liberty Issue?
If you have a religious liberty issue and would like to speak with someone about what to do or who to contact, you may contact the church’s religious liberty leader by clicking here.
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