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In Romania, “Freedom Caravan” brings together politicians, scholars and religious liberty advocates

In Romania, “Freedom Caravan” brings together politicians, scholars and religious liberty advocates

Church representatives with authorities and religious Leaders

Bucharest, Romania [Nelu Burcea; CD EUDNews]. For one month, Greg Hamilton, President of the Northwest Religious Liberty Association, visited Romania in a religious liberty marathon, participating in town hall and church administration meetings, conductin

April 18, 2013 | Nelu Burcea, Religious Liberty Director; CD EUDNews;

Bucharest, Romania [Nelu Burcea; CD EUDNews]. For one month, Greg Hamilton, President of the Northwest Religious Liberty Association, visited Romania in a religious liberty marathon, participating in town hall and church administration meetings, conducting law school lectures and meeting thousands of politicians, local and national decision makers, leaders of various denominations, scholars from various Romanian universities and pastors and religious liberty leaders from the six conferences and the Romanian Union Conference.

“It was a real pleasure to have Greg Hamilton as a special guest in Romania for our Freedom Caravan 2013 initiative. Romania was enriched through his experience and visit. He’s been unwearied in this past month in promoting religious liberty and presenting each time profound topics reagarding the real problems of freedom of religion and belief. The thousands of people we have met in Craiova, Timișoara, Lugoj, Constanța, Cluj-Napoca, Târgu Mureș, Bacău, Iași, Voroneț, Târgoviște, Peretu and Bucharest had a positive reaction towards the lectures and the profound awareness of the visible differences between religious liberty and tolerance,” said Pastor Nelu Burcea, Religious Liberty and Public Affairs (PARL) director for the Romanian Union and president of the Conscience and Liberty Association.

Considering the current plans for changing Romania’s Constitution, the discussions focused on aspects of the legislative fight, having both a preventive and an educational character. Also, it was emphasized the importance of this department for the church, the importance of a professional preparation for this kind of situations and paying constant attention to legislative initiatives.

On this aspect Nelu Burcea mentioned that “Following an official decision of the Adventist Church in Romania, this process [the process of changing the constitution] represents a priority. That is why we pay special attention to each proposal. We are now analyzing each proposal and we are monitoring the situation so that we can have a prompt reaction and appropriate reaction.”

Burcea also emphasized the preventive character of the actions: “Even though Romania has taken important steps in promoting religious liberty, so the Romanian denominations enjoy religious liberty and can voice their opinion in the social life, we must stay alert and to make sure that the principles of religious liberty stay untainted.”

During his visit, Greg Hamilton’s discourse focused on the difficulties faced in making a law that is „fair“ for all those involved, showing that one must use all the opportunities at the right time:

“In the US it is more difficult to promote a law than to write ten books because you have to come to an agreement with all those involved, each of them having their own interests. In the politic area you have to catch the right moment. Sometimes opportunities are so narrow that the door can close in a moment. As religious people, we must listen to God’s voice in order to understand the right time and that is why we must act by faith and enter doors even though we cannot always guarantee the result.”

Greg Hamilton has also presented the main advocacy activities in different areas, giving both examples and direct advice:

„The separation of church and state is the fundamental principle for which the founding fathers of the US have fought and the principle they dreamed of. (...) Romania should give a serious thought to introducing a comprehensive religious liberty law which would guarantee religious liberty for all people, all denominations, so that no church could be underpriviledged, and this is warranted by the complete separation of church and state“, Hamilton further stated.

During this national tour, was also presented, in the auditorium of the University of Craiova Law School, the IRLA Journal, „Fides et Libertas“, a collection of articles on religious liberty, as it is seen through the eyes of world renowed experts promoting mutual understanding between world’s denominations.

These past two years, the journal has become a spearhead in the efforts for consolidating Romania’s religious liberty. From its launch two years ago, the Romanian translation of „Fides et Libertas” has been presented in Romanian universities and is now in the libraries of those universities.

Nelu Burcea also talked about the preparations of the new Journal for Freedom of Conscience, “representing the first broad-reaching local attempt to give space and attention to freedom of conscience and religion from various perspectives: the authors are Romanian renowned authors in the areas of political scinces, law, theology and sociology.

Additional Information

The Freedom Caravan is an initiative aiming to bring in Romania, for a few weeks, a special guest from the area of religious liberty.

During this time, the guest tours the main cities of Romania, presenting lectures, along with other Romanian experts from law, political sciences and theology schools, and meeting politicians and religious leaders from various areas of the country.

At the event are invited representatives of the local authorities, deputies, senators, religious leaders and school principals along with experts in law and political sciences, for a better anchorage in the current realities.

In Romania live about 100.000 Adventists, representing around 0.5% of the population of the country.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church is recognized by the Romanian government along with other 18 of the denominations operating in Romania, being known for its transparency and for its work areas like social work, medical care, education and religious liberty.

pictures: 1. Adventist Church Leaders meeting politicians 2. Nelu Burcea, Religious Liberty & Communications Director of the Romanian Union.

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