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Resolution On The Right Of Religious Freedom For All Human Beings

WHEREAS, Baptists recognize the true foundation of religious liberty in the biblical doctrine of God’s creation of men and women in His image; and

WHEREAS, Baptists have a proud history and tradition of promoting religious liberty throughout the world; and

WHEREAS, While the U.S. Constitution affirms and guarantees the religious freedom of all Americans, this is a fundamental right to which all human beings are entitled, since it is ultimately an irrevocable gift from their Creator; and

WHEREAS, In 1948 the United Nations affirmed the right to religious freedom for all peoples in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states, “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance”; and

WHEREAS, Political and economic freedoms are recognitions of the God-given, inalienable and most fundamental right to religious freedom; and

WHEREAS, Last year our government committed U.S. military forces to defend the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which has abstained from supporting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and which, according to authoritative studies, has the worst record of religious oppression in the world; and

WHEREAS, The nation of Kuwait, which was liberated at the expense of the lives of American and other coalition military personnel, does not adequately recognize and protect religious and political freedom for its citizens and guests; and

WHEREAS, A Presidential Permit has been required by Egyptian authorities since 1956, in order to build or repair churches, we note that the present government has not issued a single permit, thereby forcing many churches to be abandoned or condemned because of disrepair; and

WHEREAS, Religious liberties are similarly threatened or denied in various nations throughout the world.

Therefore, Be it RESOLVED, That we the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, June 9-11, 1992, urge the President of the United States to use the influence afforded by the successful outcome of the Persian Gulf war to influence all nations throughout the region of the Middle East to provide genuine religious freedom for the estimated 10 million Christians living in the Middle East, for the foreign nationals who must work in those nations, and for all persons everywhere; and

Be it further RESOLVED, That we reaffirm our historic tradition of support for the God-given, inalienable right to religious freedom for all peoples of the world, and our conviction that political freedom, self-determination, and economic freedom are the necessary corollaries to religious liberty.