1998 NCC News Archives

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Rev. Dr. Joan B. Campbell on Religious Persecution Bill:
Email from NCCCUSA China Delegation

October 12, 1998, NEW YORK -- Comment by the Rev. Dr. Joan B. Campbell, NCC General Secretary, on the religious persecution legislation currently before Congress was the subject of an email received over the weekend from the National Council of Churches delegation at the midpoint of its Oct. 8-15 visit to China.

Ambassador Andrew Young, the NCC’s President Elect for 2000-01, and the Rev. Dr. Joan B. Campbell, NCC General Secretary, are leading the delegation, which is looking at the current status of church-state relations in China.

The email comes from Victor Hsu, Director of the NCC East Asia and the Pacific Office, who is staffing the delegation visit.

From: Victor Hsu, Director, East Asia & the Pacific, NCC
Date: October 10, 1998
Re: Religious Persecution Legislation

Here is a October 10, 1998, statement from our General Secretary, the Rev. Dr. Joan Campbell while on an official visit to China:

The vote of support in the U.S. Senate for the religious persecution legislation brings to the conclusion our creative year-long debate on the effective use of American influence on this international human justice issue. We believe our ecumenical Christian voice has contributed positive insights and sensitivities to the present legislation.

Through the National Council of Churches our churches have stood with our overseas partners in facing religious liberty issues for nearly fifty years. Even now human rights issues including religious persecution will continue to need active attention by all religious and caring people.

We will be attentive to the implementation of the legislation when it becomes our nation's law. We continue to believe that economic sanctions against any nation are most effective when evoked through multi-national decisions, not the USA acting alone. We continue to believe that religious persecution must not become a recurring issue in the domestic politics. We continue to believe that such aspects of religious persecution as the experiences of the persecuted themselves, the varied traditions of religious freedom in countries other than our own and the need to be concerned for people who seek asylum for all human rights violations including religious, will need to be monitored. We look forward for instance to the report of the Senate's special commission on sanctions and its implications for the religious persecution legislation.

We continue to believe that the USA must not act as the religious police of the world. Our respect as Christians for the various religious traditions of the world lies at the heart of our commitment to religious freedom. Preserving religious freedom, not a new issue to be exaggerated or exploited, will require ongoing vigilance and commitment of all of us.

We commend those peoples of faith whose passion about religious persecution has renewed the awareness of us all, including the Congress, to the urgency of the issue. We trust that our continuing attention will draw us together as religious communities.


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