Of all the events of the 2nd Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, Wednesday afternoon’s segment on the International Religious Freedom Roundtable may well have the greatest impact in advancing religious freedom around the world.
In launching the 2nd Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom July 16, U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo asserts America’s commitment to establishing freedom of religion or belief internationally. Sessions will be live-streamed on the State Department’s website, www.state.gov.
Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback sees the event’s potential to create a “global grass-roots movement around religious freedom.” And the International Religious Freedom Roundtable (IRF) model provides a model to carry this movement forward.
What is the International Religious Freedom Roundtable?
The International Religious Freedom Roundtable is a forum where participants may gather, speak freely, share ideas and information, and propose joint advocacy actions to address specific religious freedom issues and problems.
It is based on the IRF in Washington, D.C., initiated nearly a decade ago.
The IRF serves as a forum where people of all faiths or no faith may freely exchange ideas for the forwarding of the freedom of religion or belief.
Why this model needed and why is it so effective?
More than three-quarters of the world’s population live in countries with high or very high restrictions or hostilities. Yet freedom of religion or belief is the most basic of all human rights, as this is the right to live by the integrity of one’s own observations and beliefs. Studies show that where this right is respected, other rights and opportunities also flourish.
With the International Religious Freedom Roundtable model, participants are empowered to bring forward issues of importance to their own adherents and the population at large.
Religions and religious organizations have tremendous influence beyond the walls of their churches, temples and mosques. Their humanitarian and philanthropic contributions reach out broadly to people of all faiths.
In his article Religious Influence in Society, Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard wrote:
“The great religious civilizing forces of the past, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and others, have all emphasized differentiation of good from evil and higher ethical values.... When religion is not influential in a society or has ceased to be, the state inherits the entire burden of public morality, crime and intolerance. It then must use punishment and police. Yet this is unsuccessful as morality, integrity and self-respect not already inherent in the individual, cannot be enforced with any great success.”
All religions are minorities and face persecution somewhere on Earth. By working together to protect this human right, religions have tremendous power to improve conditions not only for their own members but for all.
Respect for the Religious Beliefs of Others
The Church of Scientology is founded on the principle of religious freedom. The Creed of the Church of Scientology, written in 1954, the year of the founding of the first Church of Scientology, holds “That all men have inalienable rights to their own religious practices and their performance.” The Code of a Scientologist, authored by Mr. Hubbard, enjoins all Scientologists to support the freedom of religion.
The Church of Scientology endorses and supports the IRF Roundtable model and urges religious groups to work together in this model to help create peaceful and equitable societies. The Church of Scientology supports religious freedom for all and has been working for decades with other religious groups on behalf of those threatened, imprisoned, or suppressed due to their religious beliefs.
The Church is proud to be a part of the 2nd Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom with other faith groups and government officials to curb ongoing violations of religious freedom around the world.