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Expert talks on decline in religious freedom

A church is to run a seminar to highlight a global decline in religious freedom.

The Warwick Seventh-day Adventist Church will host the seminar, which is being organised by the Californian-based Church State Council, the education and legal services arm of the church.

The Church State Council said religious intolerance had reached epidemic proportions around the world and that 80 per cent of the global population lived in countries with little or no religious freedom.

Alan Reinach, an international speaker and American lawyer, will be the main presenter.

Mr Reinach, who has served as executive director of the Church State Council for more than 25 years, will talk about intolerance, philosophical and political religious freedom, the separation of church and state, religious freedom and culture wars, and the future of freedom.

Mr Reinach said that while many of the topics did not affect Bermuda, religious intolerance was a global problem that people should be aware of.

He added that when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, people believed liberal democracy would increase and “tribal” tensions would decline.

However, Mr Reinach said: “Now we see tribalism on the increase, democracy in decline, and intolerance not only on the increase, but racism and xenophobia have become socially acceptable again, at least in the US, which has been the global leader in pursuit of human rights.”

He added: “Given that people of all faiths are being persecuted, I would think our subject would be a yawn only for those with little or no compassion.”

In addition to looking at religious persecution and intolerance and exploring the role and influence of the United States in the promotion of human rights and religious freedom, Mr Reinach said he would explore “some biblical wisdom that provides an antidote to intolerance”.

He added: “While I have not followed the Brexit situation closely, I do understand that Britain is not immune from the deep divisions impacting the world in many other respects.” Mr Reinach that the seminar was open to people from all religious backgrounds and none.

He explained: “I do not give my lectures speaking in religious jargon, but always speak plainly and clearly to include everyone, whether they have any religious background or not.”

Mr Reinach said while the “series may awaken an interest in the Bible, since we explore these themes from a biblical perspective, I do not proselytise, as such.

“There are no pressure tactics here, so no one will be made to feel uncomfortable if they are unfamiliar with the theological perspectives, or lacking an interest in Bible religion.”

Mr Reinach is an expert in religious freedom, a lawyer specialising in religious discrimination cases and a Seventh-day Adventist minister as well as the host of a syndicated weekly radio show.

The seminar will be held from Friday to April 3 at the Warwick SDA Church on South Road. To register, e-mail: info@sdachurchwarwick.org or call 441-707-7751

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Published March 27, 2019 at 9:00 am (Updated March 27, 2019 at 9:26 am)

Expert talks on decline in religious freedom

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