Volume 5 - Number 12
FREEDOM'S RING BROADCAST SCHEDULE
Church State Council News
Full Calendar Features
Festival of Religious Freedom
Government Relations Day
2011 will be a year of significant
events for religious liberty, with abundant opportunities for your
participation. In September, the nation will commemorate the tenth anniversary
of 9/11. With controversies over the building of mosques around the country, it
is clear that Americans are rethinking their commitment to religious freedom.
How much freedom do we really want, and how inclusive do we really want to be?
Do we want to extend freedom to Muslims, especially since their countries deny
Christians religious freedom? This brings to mind what every parent has
repeated endlessly to their kids: “two wrongs don’t make a right.” In any
event, this is a wonderful time to lift the banner of truth and religious
freedom! Please join us!
Festival of Religious Freedom – Sunday, September 4, 2011. Sunday afternoon, at the State Capitol in Sacramento,
thousands will gather to celebrate religious freedom. Plan now to be part of
More details will be posted in the near future at www.churchstate.org.
Government Relations Day –
Monday, May 16, 2011. Representatives from many Adventist churches will gather
in Sacramento for a day of training and visiting legislative offices to discuss
significant religious freedom issues. For more information and to register, please
call the Church State Council office: 916-446-2552. Please make sure that someone represents your
Evangelism – Executive
Director Alan J. Reinach, Esq., has developed a three part mini evangelistic
series: “The Coming Economic Collapse? A
Biblical Perspective.” It is designed to introduce a general audience to Bible
prophecy, and to the seriousness of the times we are living in. It is intended
to generate interest in further Bible study.
March 4 – 6 – Orangevale
Seventh-day Adventist Church [Sacramento area]
April 19—21 – Bronx, New York Seventh-day
June [dates to be announced]
Honolulu Central Seventh day Adventist Church
Additional summer and fall dates
Festival of Religious Freedom to
Comemorate Tenth Anniversary of 9/11
by Alan Reinach, Esq.
Sacramento in late summer is sunny
and warm. Maybe a bit too warm. On the last Sunday afternoon of the unofficial
summer season, Labor Day weekend, that is, the North American Religious Liberty
Association will sponsor the first ever Festival of Religious Freedom to be
held in the continental United States. It will be on the west steps of the
State Capitol. Several thousand people are expected to attend.
Festivals of Religious Freedom were
conceived by Dr. John Graz, who wears several distinguished “hats,” including
Secretary General of the International Religious Freedom Association, and
director of Public Affairs & Religious Liberty for the General Conference.
Festivals are designed to bring public officials and faith leaders together
with the public to thank God and government for the gift of religious freedom,
and to spotlight the need for increasingly eternal vigilance in defense of
“There couldn’t be a better time for
a Festival,” says Alan J. Reinach, Esq., director of the Church State Council,
the Adventist Church’s religious liberty arm in the Pacific Union. “One week
before the tenth anniversary of 9/11, the news media will be all over the
subject of what religious freedom means ten years later, with much public
suspicion of Muslims. Americans are unsure whether we want religious freedom to
include Muslims or not, or how much religious freedom we are comfortable with.”
Ed Fargusson, Government Relations
Director for the Church State Council, sees the Festival as a time to reassert
the church’s local leadership on religious freedom issues. “We have built strong
bridges to interfaith and government leaders in the past, and this Festival
will provide a golden opportunity to strengthen those bridges, not only at the
state level, but in each local community.”
The Festival is a tool for pastors
and local church leaders to reach out into their own communities, and build
coalitionally in support of religious freedom. “We want to include as many
churches and communities as possible,” says Alan Reinach, “across both
denominational and ethnic lines. We hope the Festival will be seized upon as an
opportunity for people of all nationalities and religions to publicly declare
their desire to live in peace with others of differing faiths, and share the
blessings of liberty together, in one nation, e pluribus unum style. Churches and communities will be able to
participate with music, testimonies, short presentations, food or literature
booths, etc. ”
Elder Ricardo Graham, Pacific Union
Conference president, sees the evangelistic potential of the event: “we cannot
reap where we do not sow. By extending a hand of friendship in all of our
communities, and showing respect for the rights of others, we can model the
attitude of Jesus and develop new friendships we hope will last for all
In the News
Church Taps Leslie as Adventist Point Per son in Washington, D.C.
9 Feb 2011, Silver Spring, Maryland, United States
Veteran attorney and business leader Dwayne Leslie will serve as the
Seventh-day Adventist Church's voice in Washington, D.C., following a
vote taken yesterday by the world church's Executive Committee.
As associate director for the world church's department of Public
Affairs and Religious Liberty (PARL) and director of Legislative
Affairs, Leslie will represent the world church and its concerns on
Capitol Hill, at the White House, and among Washington's diplomatic
Leslie replaces attorney James Standish, who served in the department
for eight years.
One of his first goals, Leslie said, is to "expand the relationships
that James has established, and to build on the great job he's done in
representing the church."
During a career spanning both the corporate and legal worlds, Leslie has
focused on legislative and healthcare issues and has represented a
diverse range of clients, from biotechnology companies to media
Leslie said he will draw inspiration in his new role from the activism
of the early Adventist Church which, despite its small size, frequently
spoke publically on issues of temperance, freedom of conscience and
human rights. READ MORE
Adventist religious liberty advocate recognized with First Freedom Award
John Graz, who directs the Adventist world church's department of
Public Affairs and Religious Liberty (PARL), will receive the National
First Freedom Award. . . Graz, who since 1995 has helmed the International Religious Liberty
Association, was noted for his non-sectarian work, extensive writings
and a series of world festivals of religious freedom.
Appeal to Indonesia to Protect Religious Freedom
On Tuesday, three churches in Temanggung, Central Java, were attacked by
a mob of extremist Islamists after a court judge sentenced a Christian
man, Antonius Bawengan, to five years in prison for blaspheming against
Islam. The extremists were angry that the sentence was too lenient and
went on the rampage, burning two churches and damaging a third,
attacking the police outside the courthouse, vandalizing cars, and
demanding the death penalty for blasphemy charges READ MORE
Discrimination Charges Soar in Down Economy
Six Hawaii inmates in private prisons in Arizona are suing the state of
Hawaii and the prison operator for allegedly violating their
constitutional rights by denying them free exercise of their native
Hawaiian religious practices.
Inmates Richard Kapela Davis, Michael Hughes, Damien Kaahu, Robert A.
Holbron, James Kane III and Ellington Keawe say the staffs at Saguaro
and Red Rock correctional centers, both in Eloy, Ariz., have
consistently denied written requests to practice their religion, to
establish a sacred place in the prison yard and to have access to a
spiritual adviser and sacred items. READ MORE
Religious Liberty Blogs
Religious Liberty is Not Ecumenical!
This past Monday evening, I gave a lecture on
the topic of: “Religious Intolerance in America.” It was part of a local effort
to develop a Jewish Adventist congregation, Beth Shalom Seventh-day Adventist.
Such congregations are growing around the world, both in number and size.
I observed that underlying all forms of
intolerance, especially religious intolerance, is an “us and them” attitude. We
tend to identify ourselves according to our ethnic, national and religious
backgrounds, and to separate ourselves from others who are different. Such
separation is a necessary predicate to intolerance.
Religious Liberty is . . .
regional office for the Seventh-day Adventist Church, where I work, is
conducting its constituency session this year, and in preparation, each
department was asked to prepare a descriptive page for our magazine. Last time
around our page began with the heading “Religious Liberty Is…” It’s 4:00 a.m. on a Friday morning,
and guess what! Tossing and turning in bed, all I could think about was revising
our description of religious liberty for this year’s distribution. And then I
thought about you, our NARLA members and blog readers. When we post blogs
inspired by the events of the day, we may give a narrow or distorted view as to
what religious liberty really is. Some may conclude that NARLA is very
conservative politically, others may be convinced that we are off the
reservation liberals. READ MORE
Is Islam an "Enemy" of Christianity?
A lunchtime conversation after
church set my mind in gear. Our discussion of the construction of what has
become in the popular imagination “the Ground Zero Mosque” led to the question:
“Isn’t Islam the enemy of Christianity? “ My first instinct was to place this
in historic context. If it were not for the Sultan, I pointed out, there would
be no Protestants today. The Holy Roman Empire would have wiped out the
Protestant world. Whenever the armies of the Emperor threatened the Protestant
Princes, the Sultan would launch a new assault on the gates of Vienna, or some
other European incursion, and the Empire would have to delay punishing the
heretical upstart in the midst of Europe to deal with a more important foe – the
Turkish Sultan. READ MORE
"Kings and magistrates are to rule temporal affairs by the swords of their temporal kingdoms, and bishops and ministers are to rule spiritual affairs by the Word and Spirit of God, the sword of Christ's spiritual kingdom, and not to intermeddle one with another's authority, office, and function. . . . It is not only unmerciful but unnatural and abominable, yes monstrous, for one Christian to vex and destroy another for difference and questions of religion." Religious Peace of a Plea for Liberty of Conscience," a petition to King James I. Anson Phelps Stokes, Church and State in the United States (New York: Harper, 1950), vol. 1, p. 113
"The principle of church-state separation may sometimes be inconvenient or costly to one side or the other. But there is one great thing about tha wall: It works for both sides." Chicago Tribune, Editorial, June 11, 1985