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Adventists in Bahamas Give Thanks for Freedom

9 Dec 2011 ... Attorney Dwayne Leslie, director of legislative affairs for the Seventh-day Adventist world church, and Elder Lincoln Steed, editor of Liberty Magazine, were guests December 3 at the first-ever Religious Liberty Festival to be held in Nassau, Bahamas. The event, hosted by the Public Affairs and Religious Liberty department of the Atlantic Caribbean Union, brought together church members and leaders, along with government officials, for a day of “giving thanks” for the right to worship freely.

Leslie urged the audience to be advocates for freedom and to speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves. He reminded his listeners that religious freedom is vital because “we serve a God of freedom who created each one with the freedom to choose.”

“And for this reason,” he added, “we’re called to defend the rights of everyone, not just Adventists.”

Pastor Leonard Johnson, president of ACUM, explained that Adventists “believe in the rights of all mankind to choose his or her religion and also the right to change religion.” He added that Adventist leaders in the Bahamas seek to have a strong and close relationship with the government and other religious groups because “as we network we can assure not only Adventists but other religious groups enjoy these freedoms.”

Representing the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas at the service was the Honorable Earl Deveaux, Minister of Environment, who accepted, on the Prime Minister’s behalf, a token of appreciation from Elder Steed. Also present was Mr. Jack Thompson, Director of Immigration.

Held at the Centreville Church under the theme “Giving Thanks,” the Religious Liberty festival, according to Elder Isaac Collie, PARL director of ACUM, was an opportunity for “Adventists to encourage the nation to join with us in saying thanks for the religious freedom we enjoy in this country, the Bahamas.”

PARL is a department of the Seventh-day Adventist Church that promotes and maintains religious liberty with particular emphasis upon liberty of conscience. The PARL Department works primarily to ensure that the God-given universal human right of religious freedom becomes a universal reality.

Liberty magazine, a magazine of religious freedom published by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, is distributed to political leaders, judiciary, lawyers, and other leaders in North America and through the International Religious Liberty Association, to a larger international audience. [Cheryl Rolle/PARL staff]