The Dominican Republic hosted the 7th World Congress for Religious Freedom, with 900 attendees who represented 70 nations. Meeting every five years, the congress is presented by the International Religious Liberty Association of Seventh-day Adventists, which promotes freedom of faith for all people.

The theme for the 2012 congress was “Secularism and Religious Freedom— Conflict or Partnership?” I was privileged to be selected by the North American Division as the pastoral representative for the Mid-America Union at this event. I’ve had an interest in religious liberty issues since becoming an Adventist.

Because of the prophetic aspects of the Adventist message in relationship to powers, governments and authority, and because of the spiritual Babylon perspective we have of churches and the powers that be, I believe we should tread softly and be as servant-oriented for as long as we can. We must not spoil the social attitudes toward us before we can get the main message about Christ and His return before the people.

Since attending the conference, I have a greater appreciation for the diplomatic mediation ministries that go on through the International Religious Liberty Association and its non-governmental liaison representatives. The need for personal contact and influence with the leadership of the various governmental agencies is invaluable when religious conflicts arise, or when social pressures demand action on behalf of some minority group.

Author Jim Nichols, pastor of the Sidney District in Kansas, represented Kansas-Nebraska Conference and the Mid-America Union at the 7th World Congress for Religious Freedom.