Portugal: Conscience and Liberty Conference

Portugal: Conscience and Liberty Conference

Dr. John Graz, outgoing President of IRLA

The topic for this Conference was “Freedom and the religious phenomenon: Today’s trends and public perceptions.

October 26, 2015 | Bern, Switzerland. | L. Figueiredo, CD EUDNEWS.

On October 20, 2015, at the Lusofona University facilities in Lisbon, the IV Conscience and Liberty Conference was held by the Portuguese Section of the International Association for the Defense of Religious Liberty (IADRL).

The event was organized by Paulo Sergio Macedo (B.A.), President of the aforementioned Association in Portugal. The topic for this Conference was “Freedom and the religious phenomenon: Today’s trends and public perceptions.”

The program began at 6 P.M. and was chaired by Fernando Soares Loja (B.A.), President of the Religious Liberty Committee of the Assembly of the Portuguese Republic. There were two speakers, the first being Doctor John Graz, outgoing President of the IRLA (International Religious Liberty Association), whose presentation touched on the issue “Trends of the relationship between beliefs and religions in actuality.” Doctor Graz presented the evolution of religious liberty in the international context for the last 20 years, highlighting the continuous degradation of that fundamental liberty throughout the world. Also mentioned were the various actions taken by IRLA, all over the world, to promote and defend religious liberty as a fundamental right enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Mr. Joaquim Franco, a journalist with a Master of Science in Religions, was the second speaker of the meeting. His presentation touched the theme “Religious liberty and the treatment of religious phenomenon in the media.” He discussed the implications for the defense of religious liberty that come from good or bad use of the media, calling attention to the part that the mass media can play in assuring the defense of religious liberty and liberty of conscience in the society they serve.

In this Conference there was also the opportunity to honor Doctor John Graz for his 20 years directing IRLA, emphasizing his outstanding ministry in defending religious liberty all over the world.

At the end of the Conference there was the presentation and delivery of the 2015 Conscience and Liberty Review Award. This year it went to Doctor Josias Jacintho Bittencourt for his work “Secular State and Religious Freedom: Realities and Utopias.”

In his text, the author, a Brazilian citizen, defends that “tolerance, dialog and law, based on the ideals of justice, are the best instruments to balance the mutual influences and interferences between Religion and State.”

The meeting closed at 8 P.M. A new Conscience and Liberty Conference is scheduled for next year.

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