Religious Liberty


Since 1901...

the Department of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty (PARL) has represented the Seventh-day Adventist Church to governments, religious bodies, and international organizations. By supporting, protecting and defending religious freedom and human rights for all people everywhere, PARL speaks for the church on public affairs and shares Adventist values of freedom of worship and belief. In addition to its function at the General Conference, PARL operates offices on Capitol Hill for representative work to the U.S. Congress, and also in New York City for United Nations liaison.

Conducting congresses, conferences, and other events worldwide to promote religious freedom, inter-faith dialogue, and human rights, PARL helps develop crucial understanding between government officials and religious leaders of all persuasions.

PARL also sponsors, on behalf of the church, the International Religious Liberty Association (IRLA), a non-sectarian organization dedicated to the cause of religious freedom. Seventh-day Adventist leaders were the first to organize such an association, which serves as an umbrella for many regional and national religious liberty affiliates around the world. These connections bring involvement from Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Baptist, Mormon and many other religious persuasions, working together for the religious freedom of all.

The Adventist church is committed to the principle meaning of religious freedom: The differences in religions, throughout the world, should be respected. What we choose to believe and how we choose to worship should be according to the dictates of our conscience. The IRLA continues to defend the right to religious freedom worldwide, by helping all religions find a common ground.

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath to the Lord your God… Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
— Exodus 20:8-10, 11

For more than a century Seventh-day Adventists have been active promoters of religious freedom. We recognize the need to champion freedom of conscience and religion as a fundamental human right, in harmony with the instruments of the United Nations.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church has a presence in 209 countries. With some exceptions, however, Adventists constitute a religious minority, and have at times been subject to restrictions and discrimination. Consequently, they have felt it necessary to stand up for human rights.

As loyal citizens, Adventists believe they have the right to freedom of religion, subject to the equal rights of others. This implies the freedom to meet for instruction and worship, to worship on the seventh day of the week (Saturday), and to disseminate religious views by public preaching, or through the media. This freedom further includes the right to change one’s religion, as well as to respectfully invite others to do so. Every person has a right to demand consideration whenever conscience does not allow the performance of certain public duties, such as requiring the bearing of arms. Whenever churches are given access to public media, Adventists should in all fairness be included.

We will continue to cooperate and network with others to defend the religious liberty of all people, including those with whom we may disagree.

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