Monday, October 3, 2016

Religious Freedom -- AMAR Foundation and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

An important political issue is religious freedom.

The National Platform of the Republican Party strongly endorses religious freedom and our First Amendment rights. The Church News of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for September 18, 2016 was full of articles about religious freedom.

The cover story told of Elder Holland of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles participating in talks about religious persecution at Windsor Castle in England.

The AMAR Foundation held a five-day conference September 10-14 titled "Religious Persecution: The Driver of Forced Migration." Baroness Emma Nicholson is the founder and chair of AMAR an international relief organization.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland gave two addresses at the conference. The first was September 11 and was about "a tragic problem that has for a very long time been a largely invisible part of war and conflict -- sexual violence against. women."  Religious freedom is at the very heart of empowerment. Elder Holland cited recent research which "correlates religious freedom with fewer incidents of armed conflict, high levels of health and earned income and better educational opportunities for women."

The second address given September 14 was about the Mormon refugee experience. Elder Holland said, " I do not pretend that my people's experiences are the same as we see happening today." But there are principles that can be learned from the Mormon experience that will be helpful to the relief being administered to present day refugees. One principle is that the religion and culture of the refugees needs to be respected. It is important that refugees who have lost so much do not also lose their cultural and religious identity.