First-ever Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, Washington DC
July 24 – 25, 2018
The first-ever Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, three-day summit, by the U. S. Department of State, commenced on 24th July, 2018, bringing together leaders from more than 80 foreign governments, representatives from non-profit organizations, religious leaders, grassroots activists, and hundreds of civil society partners.
The singular focus: to promote and protect religious freedom around the world.
The Ministerial that convened in Washington, D.C. is testimony to the growing number of people awakening to the cherished importance of religious freedom. U.S. leadership in this effort is critical, and State Department officials are hopeful the Ministerial will set the tone for positive engagement with those who stand in support of international religious freedom and against oppressive state and non-state actors.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo affirmed this view in a recent interview: “Religious freedom is important for every citizen around the world and we want to bring everyone together to discuss how all faiths have the right — people, individuals — have the right to worship in the way that they choose, or if they choose not to. And every country ought to honor that.”
Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback has made it clear that the Ministerial will not be just a “talk shop.” Participating governments will be challenged to make new commitments that advance international religious freedom. Civil society groups and religious leaders will share expertise and best practices to link efforts and integrate with existing government policies and programs.
Securing religious freedom is a long game, and this week’s Ministerial is poised to provide some strategic gains. “We’ll have just three days here,” noted Secretary Pompeo. “But this will be a mission of the State Department every day.” Still, more committed players are needed — the church and private citizens — to ensure that this week’s activities are the starting line, not a finish line.
Church, please pray that God would give our Founder divine wisdom and insight at this meeting. Pray that this Ministerial would be a launching point for the transformation in religious freedom in India.
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