Religious Liberty

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BWA General Council Resolution 2012.2

The General Council of the Baptist World Alliance, meeting in Santiago, Chile July 2-7, 2012:

ACKNOWLEDGING we as Baptists are now celebrating the historic occasion of the 400th anniversary of Thomas Helwys’ 1612 publication of the Mystery of Iniquity, the first defense of Universal Religious Liberty for all persons to be published in the English language;

WHEREAS, “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion”*;

WHEREAS, Religion can be deeply rooted in the identity of a person and one’s relation to the transcendental world expressed in acts of worship and the sharing of one’s faith;

WHEREAS, Religious Liberty for all persons has been a foundational Baptist principle for 400 years;

WHEREAS, Religious Liberty appears to be taken for granted even as religious minority groups in various parts of the world are suffering for lack of religious liberty protection;

WHEREAS, Religious Liberty cannot be taken for granted, but must be defended by every generation;

THEREFORE CALLS on Baptist church leaders around the world to renew urgently the teaching on Religious Liberty for all persons and to serve as advocates in their congregations and communities for the protection of all who wish to worship as their consciences dictate.

*Article 18, Universal Declaration of Human Rights


BWA General Council Resolution 2012.2 Religious Liberty

Original Source Bibliography: Callam, Neville, editor. Baptist World Alliance 2012 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory. Falls Church, VA: Baptist World Alliance, 2012.

Original Source Footnote/Endnote: Neville Callam, ed., Baptist World Alliance 2012 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory (Falls Church, VA: Baptist World Alliance, 2012), p. 149.

Online Document Full Citation: BWA General Council Resolution 2012.2 Religious Liberty;

In-text Online Document Citation: (BWA General Council Resolution 2012.2).

For more information about Baptist World Alliance resolutions, visit

Since its formation in 1905, the Baptist World Alliance has networked the global Baptist family to impact the world for Christ with a commitment to strengthen worship, fellowship and unity; lead in mission and evangelism; respond to people in need through aid, relief, and community development; defend religious freedom, human rights, and justice; and advance theological reflection and leadership development.

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