President of Portugal welcomes Adventist Church leaders during an important ceremony :Adventist News Online

President of Portugal welcomes Adventist Church leaders during an important ceremony :Adventist News Online

The President of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Portugal, Pastor António Amorim, represented the Church at a meeting held by the President of the Republic, Prof. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. The meeting, which included the leaders of some religious communities based in the country, took place on March 9th, at the Porto City Hall.

The mayor of Porto, Dr. Rui Moreira, oversaw the opening ceremony, in which, in addition to the Seventh-day Adventist Church, seventeen communities were represented, including the Evangelical Alliance, Buddhist, Roman Catholic, Orthodox Catholic, Faith Baha’i, Hindu, Jewish, Lusitanian and Muslim communities. This was a solemn act in which the President of the Republic participated with representatives of different religious denominations at the moment of his inauguration. Thus, not being a religious celebration, it is a meeting that recognizes and values ​​the integration of different religious communities in the life of Portuguese society.

In this ceremony, as part of the program that marked the inauguration and the beginning of the second term, the President of the Republic welcomed the presence of religious leaders “in the city of freedom”. In his words, he demonstrated “gratitude to all who give life to a fundamental freedom of our constitution: religious freedom”, affirming that “it is in the pluralism that characterizes a free, open and democratic society that is consecrated and in which flourishes religious freedom, that are enshrined all freedoms and [allow] all fundamental rights [to] grow.” He also thanked the various belief communities: “Portugal owes you so much gratitude, in education, in health, in social solidarity, in resisting crises, in combating the pandemic”, stressing that, “in this painful and tireless year, the relentless fight against the pandemic wouldn’t be the same without your contribution in sensitive areas of national life, helping the excluded and the poorest, those who have suffered the most during this year.”

Then, the President of the Republic appealed to the belief communities saying that, “in healthy dialogue and convergence of purpose, we do everything to defend freedom, tolerance, and mutual understanding, in a time when it is so seductive to divide and catalog, to find scapegoats, accuse without foundation, and marginalize without humanity.” He continued, “Portugal asks you for another contribution, through words and works, for the pacification of spirits, the acceptance of the different, the acceptance of the diverse, the acceptance of the strange.” He also called for an understanding of love, defining that, “for believers, the Law of Love will be diverse and seen differently by each one. For non-believers, it is respect for the constitutional principle of human dignity.”

The participation of the Seventh-day Adventist Church at the invitation of the President of the Republic is a recognition of its commitment to the defense and promotion of the principle of religious freedom, based on the right to have or not to have, to practice or not to practice, to change, to abandon and to share the belief. On the other hand, it is a consequence of their practice of interreligious dialogue, based on respect for difference and the public expression of faith, valuing the contribution to aspects of common experiences, such as religious freedom itself, peace, solidarity, and citizenship values.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church, worldwide, has a long and fruitful tradition of commitment to religious freedom, relationships with authorities, and dialogue with other communities. Since 1893, with the creation of the North American Religious Liberty Association, the Church has understood that religious freedom and public affairs are very relevant in its mission and its contribution to society. The same happens in Portugal, with the action of the Church and with the International Association for the Defense of Religious Freedom (AIDLR), officially created in 1978 as a national entity.

The original article was published here.


Author Image

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.