Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That the 79th General Convention of The Episcopal Church reaffirm its commitment to the freedom of all people in all places to profess and practice their religious beliefs as a universal human right; and be it further
Resolved, That the General Convention express its concern that adherents of religious minorities in many nations and cultures are persecuted by religious majorities and by governments hostile to religion through gratuitous criticism, legal strictures, social exclusion, economic discrimination, sanctuary desecration, and physical violence; and be it further
Resolved, That the General Convention encourage dioceses, congregations and mission organizations to include outreach to persecuted religious minorities in their international mission work; and be it further
Resolved, That the General Convention encourage dioceses, congregations and mission organizations to establish in their international mission work relationships of solidarity with Christians experiencing persecution by reason of their faith in Jesus Christ; and be it further
Resolved, That the General Convention request the Episcopal Church’s Office of Governmental Relations to advocate on behalf of legislation and international appeals to protect religious freedom; and be it further
Resolved, That the General Convention Office communicate this resolution to the United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom and to the bipartisan United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.
The 21st century has seen an unexpected and disconcerting rise in threats to religious freedom around the world. North Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, China, North Korea, Europe and the United States are places of particular controversy, but religious freedom is threatened in many other locales as well.
Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Bahais and Yazidis are among the groups who have been victims of religiously motivated or anti-religious violence, and some of these groups, including Christians, have perpetrated religiously motivated violence. Other factors such as ethnic bias, economic competition and political expediency are often also involved, but religious motivation is often equally or more prominent.
It is incumbent on all Episcopalians involved in global mission to enact solidarity with Christians experiencing persecution in various parts of the Anglican Communion. Equally, Episcopal mission work must cultivate sensitivity to threats to religious freedom and reach out with compassion, relief and advocacy for all persecuted religious groups, whether they are victimized by religious majorities or by governments hostile to all religion.
This resolution has been endorsed by the Board of Directors of the Global Episcopal Mission Network (GEMN).
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