Cayman Islands Conference
Public Affairs and Religious Liberty Ministries
Public Affairs and Religious Liberty Ministries Departmental Director
John E. Wesley, LLB(Hons), LLM
Public Affairs and Religious Liberty Statement of Philosophy
The principles and values which inform the Seventh-day Adventist Church philosophy of life are predicated upon freedom of thought, conscience, belief, choice, expression, and assembly. Public Affairs and Religious Liberty (PARL) seeks to make known to people of influence the identity, message, and mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. In doing so, it positions the Church to a standing of credibility, trust, and relevance.
The use of force and coercion is inimical to life, to dignity, and to authentic religion. God accepts homage and worship only when they are freely given. While all human rights are of great importance, religious liberty is unique and of special significance. It deals not only with the inter-human dimension but with a person’s relationship with God, the Creator. Seventh-day Adventists, therefore, view religious liberty as the primordial human right that undergirds all human rights.
Separation of church and state offers the best safeguard for religious liberty and is in harmony with Jesus’ statement, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s” (Matt 22:21). The Public Affairs and Religious Liberty Department encourages, where feasible, such separation. The Public Affairs and Religious Liberty Department also believes that the union of church and state is a sure formula for discrimination and intolerance and offers a fertile soil for the spread of persecution. In view of its divinely ordained role, civil government is entitled to respectful and willing obedience, to the extent that civil laws and regulations are not in conflict with God’s requirements, for it is necessary “to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). – Condense from the Inter-American Division Working Policy, 2018-2019, p. 427.