Religious Liberty Department promotes and maintains religious liberty, with particular emphasis upon liberty of conscience. Religious liberty includes the human right to have or adopt the religion of one’s choice; to change religious belief according to conscience; to manifest one’s religion individually or in community with fellow believers, in worship, observance, practice, witness, and teaching, subject to respect for the equivalent rights of others.
Since religious liberty includes the right to observe days of rest and worship in accordance with the precepts of one’s religion, the department actively supports the right of Seventh-day Adventists to keep the Sabbath in accordance with the fourth commandment of God’s Word. The department also monitors and interprets current events that may reflect prophetic scenario.
To safeguard religious liberty, the Public Affairs and Religious Liberty Department encourages, where possible, the separation of church and state, as commended by our Lord when He said, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s” (Matt. 22:21). “The union of the church with the state, be the degree never so slight, while it may appear to bring the world nearer to the church, does in reality but bring the church nearer to the world.”—The Great Controversy, p. 297.
The state should never invade the distinct realm of the church to affect in any way the complete freedom of conscience or the right to profess, practice, and promulgate religious beliefs; and the church should never invade the distinctive realm of the state except, where appropriate, to bring moral principle to bear on public policy.
The department seeks to guard against intrusions upon religious liberty, especially in view of the persecutions prophesied in Revelation 13. “It is our duty to do all in our power to avert the threatened danger.”—Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 452.