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Ambassador for Religious Liberty

Ambassador for Religious Liberty
This past February, the U.S. Congress approved Sam Brownback as the new ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom. This position, created in the 1990s, is designed to promote liberty of conscience in countries around the world.

But what does that mean? At different times in U.S. history, freedom of religion has meant different things.

Many people came to the New World in search of refuge from religious oppression, but often they created their own oppressive communities. Thought leaders such as Roger Williams, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington saw religious freedom as a key issue in the American Revolution. George Washington said, "While we are Contending for our own Liberty, we should be very cautious of violating the Rights of Conscience in others."

Unfortunately, this counsel wasn't always heeded-as throughout the history of the United States, most minority religious groups have faced discrimination to varying degrees. For example, Native Americans were forced to send their children to boarding schools where they were forbidden to practice their own religion. In recent times, evangelical American Christians have promoted religious freedom abroad, mainly supporting protection for persecuted Christians in China and the Middle East.

Although the idea of an ambassador for religious freedom sounds like a good idea, his success depends on the kind of religious freedom being advocated. God's ideas of religious liberty are demonstrated by His wisdom in dealing with the insurrection in heaven and the subsequent rebellion on Earth. Freedom to choose is a cornerstone of His government: "If it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD" (Joshua 24:15).

God asks for our service of love, and love can never be forced. As His followers, we are called to be ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20) to the world and to give those around us the choice to honor the Creator by obeying His laws-including keeping His Sabbath holy-or choose to follow the deceiver and face the consequences of rejecting the Life-giver.

Would you like to share more with your friends about the importance of religious freedom and the role of the Sabbath in our world today? Click here for a FREE resource that you can enjoy and share.