The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “everyone has the rightto freedom of thought, conscience and religion” and “to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance.”
In the United States, religious people are free to live without threat from the government because of their faith. The First Amendment of the Constitution does not allow the government to make laws that would “establish a religion” or “prohibit the free exercise” of religion by the people. Today, people in the United States practice many religions, and they live peacefully alongside one another. This is not the situation in many other countries, where people of faith may live in fear of those from other religions.
What You Can Do
- Religious freedom is just the beginning. Religious tolerance and peace among the religions requires learning and working to develop good and peaceful relations with people of other faiths, even when we disagree with their beliefs.
- Support the Ecumenical Patriarchate by working on behalf of religious freedom for all people throughout the world. Ask your elected government officials—city, state, and national—to pass resolutions supporting religious freedom for the Ecumenical Patriarchate. See which states have already passed resolutions.
- Get involved by caring for the environment and tell people you are doing this because the Orthodox Church, under the leadership of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, teaches us to care for the natural world.
- You can even go to the Ecumenical Patriarchate. And, if he is there, you can visit the Ecumenical Patriarch and receive his blessing.
- You can also see the many historic Orthodox Christian sites throughout Turkey. They are famous for their icons, their churches, and other buildings. More importantly, these are places where the great saints of our Church lived and taught, where Orthodox Christianity was established, and where Orthodox Christians lived for centuries.