View Header


Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release November 14, 1998


On this International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, November 15, 1998, I want to reaffirm my Administration's strong commitment to religious freedom around the world.

Today, in solidarity with millions of people at home and abroad, we pray for those who suffer for their beliefs -- a suffering forewarned by scripture: "...they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you... [you will be] brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake." But with this warning comes the promise, "I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to deny or resist" (Luke 21:12).

My Administration worked closely with members of Congress and the U.S. religious community to secure passage of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, which is an important addition to our ongoing efforts to make the promotion of religious freedom a national priority and an integral part of our foreign policy.

On this day, when we keep in our thoughts the noble struggle for religious freedom of people of all backgrounds, whether Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Taoist, Baha'i, or of any other faith, we remember the words of the American Founding Father James Madison who called religious liberty the "luster of our country." And we pray that our devotion to religious tolerance will serve as a beacon for all people everywhere who yearn for spiritual freedom.