May 5, 2006 - McCain Keynote Address / NARLA-West Lobbies Congress in Support of WRFA
By Alan Reinach
WASHINGTON, DC - Arizona Senator and potential presidential candidate, John McCain, praised the Seventh-day Adventist Church for its commitment to defending religious liberty for people of all faiths, at a banquet May 4 sponsored by several Seventh-day Adventist religious liberty organizations. The event was well-attended by dozens of diplomats, representatives from Congress, the interfaith community, and more than fifty members of the North American Religious Liberty Association, including almost two dozen members from the Pacific Union Conference.
McCain spoke about the necessity of a human rights based foreign policy. He challenged us to learn the historical lesson that support for dictators who oppress their own citizens while they “pledge their love for America” has had dire implications for our own security and economic interests. Surprising to many in the audience, he included the House of Saud in his list of examples. He said that “each case had dire implications for our security and economic interests.”The transcript of his remarks has been posted on our website, www.churchstate.org.
The programs began on Thursday with congressional lobby visits, and included a Friday prophecy seminar and culminated in the observance of Written In the Heart Sabbath. On Thursday afternoon, NARLA members formed small groups and visited more than thirty congressional offices, making substantial progress in obtaining support from key Senators and House members. Two bills were the subject of lobby efforts: the Workplace Religious Freedom Act, and a bill to authorize the FDA to regulate tobacco.
One group met with Senator Feinstein’s office. One of her new staff members had spent three years at the Justice Department working on tobacco litigation, so he was appreciative of our church’s support for FDA regulation of tobacco. On Friday, congressional staff led tours of the U.S. Capitol.
Plans for Next Year
Next year, Virginia will be celebrating the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown. NARLA West is laying plans for an historical tour of colonial sites in conjunction with the annual religious liberty banquet and lobby efforts on Capitol Hill. Such a tour would include the homes of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and George Washington, with visits to Colonial Willamsburg, the restored colonial capitol of Virginia, Jamestown, and Washington, D.C. itself. If you are interested in such a tour, please e.mail to email@example.com. Group size will most definitely be strictly limited, and can be expected to fill up quickly.
Plans for Religious Liberty World Congress in South Africa
Plans are also being made to send a NARLA delegation to the International Religious Liberty Association Quinquennial World Congress in Capetown, South Africa, in February, 2007. The theme of this event is: Combating Religious Hatred Through Freedom to Believe. If you are interested in attending or supporting these meetings, contact Alan Reinach at firstname.lastname@example.org. Information about this event is available at the International Religious Liberty Association’s home page www.irla.org, which is affiliated with NARLA.