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January 26 - Religious Liberty Day

January 26 - Religious Liberty Day

Bern, Switzerland [Liviu Olteanu, EUD PARL Director; EUD News]. 1700 years ago, in 313 A.D., Constantine, emperor of the western Empire, and Licinius, emperor of the eastern Empire, gathered in the imperial palace of Milan, granting to all, including Chri

January 22, 2013 | Liviu Olteanu, EUD PARL Director; Pictures CD-EUDNews.

Bern, Switzerland [Liviu Olteanu, EUD PARL Director; EUD News]. 1700 years ago, in 313 A.D., Constantine, emperor of the western Empire, and Licinius, emperor of the eastern Empire, gathered in the imperial palace of Milan, granting to all, including Christians, freedom of worship. With the Edict of Milan everybody was able to freely profess the Christian faith and every other religion throughout the empire.

There are times, circumstances, events and people which 'guard' or impact our thinking, our choices and our perspectives. None of us is an island. We depend on each other. We can say that we are part of the environment of 'paradigm' globalization trends at the socio-political, economic, financial and philosophical levels. Who can afford to ignore the diversity of religious pluralism, non-discrimination, equality and respect, which are so frequently and easily opposed to policies, practices or secular acceptance?

Today, social and political stability in many places around the world depend increasingly on liberty and religion, on attitudes or reactions of its mentors and fans (sometimes fanatics). Religious freedomhas become the 'currency' of exchange, the topic of dialogues, seminars, conferences, and even receptions. It is impossible to find a day when at least one press agency does not make reference to intolerance, discrimination and persecution. At the United Nations and other International Organizations, there is a permanent and necessary monitoring of human rights and religious freedom around the world.

God is the Creator of freedom. He is the Creator of the Universe and the Creator of man, too. But we view freedom as our own choice. Man is the crown of creation; and after the gift of life, the freedom of choice is the first wonderful gift we received from God.

The world needs freedom. We need religious freedom. Why? In an attempt to look at the reality of our days, we should look first to the Bible, and secondly, to the news and to the reports issued by the United Nations.

How can we describe our times and our generation? Up and down! A time of confusion, full of surprises, intolerance, instability, poverty and crisis. Extreme practices are the protagonists of today: fundamentalism, hate and intolerance on one hand. A life without moral stability or a 'you can do what you like, no matter what attitude on the other hand. In our generation people react more and act less.

Religious Freedom in 2012

Approximately 70% of the world's habitants do not enjoy the fundamental freedom to manifest personal religious beliefs. Between 200 and 400 million Christians are persecuted and discriminated against for religious freedom. Annually, more than 150,000 of them end up being killed (Pew Forum). Countries designated as 'Countries of Particular Concern (CPC)” on religious freedom are the following: Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Uzbekistan. All this data is alarming!

FREEDOM IS A GIFT, A RIGHT, A CHOICE, AND A RESPONSABILITY. FREEDOM IS IMPORTANT!"

The Adventist Church is a leading church in terms of religious freedom, since 1901. To learn more about this topic: http://www.adventist.org/mission-and-service/religious-liberty.html or http://www.libertymagazine.org/

(Pictures. Left: Liviu Olteanu, EUD PARL Director; Right: Hillary Clinton, US secretary of state, with John Graz, World PARL Director )

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