Chartered in 1893, the International Religious Liberty Association (IRLA) is the oldest association dedicated to freedom of conscience for all people.
Originally organized by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the IRLA’s purpose is the universal and non-sectarian promotion of religious freedom for all people everywhere. The IRLA does not identify with any political party, nor does it endorse candidates for political office.
In 2003, the IRLA was recognized by the United Nations Economic and Social Council and given the status of United Nations Non-Governmental Organization Category II. We are represented in New York and Geneva and we take part in the Human Rights Council meetings every year.
A primary aspect of the IRLA’s work is to ensure that religious freedom has the highest possible visibility on the world scene. To that end, we hold congresses, regional conferences, national symposiums, and local meetings—all aimed at making sure issues of religious freedom remain high on society’s agenda. For despite the importance of international covenants and national legislation, without public support for religious freedom, any gains remain at the level of theory rather than practice.
Various religious traditions are represented on the Board of Directors. The president in 1989 was the former general secretary of the Lutheran World Federation. The current president is the recently retired general secretary of the Baptist World Alliance.
The North American Religious Liberty Association (NARLA) is the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s member-driven organization dedicated to promoting liberty of conscience and freedom of religion, and combating religious intolerance at the local, state, and national levels.
The mission of NARLA is to champion the God-given principle of religious liberty through public education, media, legal services, legislative advocacy, and grassroots mobilization.
From the inception of our church, we Seventh-day Adventists Christians have been dedicated to free choice in matters of faith, religion, and conscience. As stated in the SDA Bible Commentary, we believe that "any use of force or persecution in matters of religion is a policy inspired by the devil, not by God."
In other words, we as a church united have determined to uphold Christ’s example of free will.