Public Affairs, Religious Liberty

Labor union exemption requests have doubled since 2002, indicating increased assertiveness of labor unions in businesses and state agencies.

Three individuals lose their jobs every day in the U.S. because of religious discrimination in the workplace.

Greg Hamilton is one of only five full-time Adventist government relations directors in the U.S.

The North Pacific Union Conference continues to champion the principles of religious liberty within legislative halls and as a ministry to its members. The public affairs and religious liberty department provides professional mediation, legal guidance, representation and referral services in the workplace, the home, schools, prisons and the military, or for immigration and naturalization purposes.

To preserve, protect and champion the principles of religious liberty by assisting individuals in the workplace and through legislative advocacy.

Legislative Affairs—(Idaho) played the leading role in promoting and passing Idaho's Free Exercise of Religion Act; (Oregon) developed statewide religious freedom coalition with Oregon State Representative Dave Hunt to promote Oregon Religious Freedom and Workplace Religious Freedom acts; (Washington) helped to reverse King County's discriminatory Growth Management Act involving land use for religious entities in the greater Seattle area; successfully challenged collective bargaining agreement between Washington State and the Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE), which would have forced placement of exempt membership dues back into labor union coffers; (Northwest) developed substantial contacts with state and federal lawmakers through our team of capitol pastors in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington.

Public Awareness—Lectured civic leaders, clergy and attorneys at assemblies in Romania on constitutional reform to help qualify the country for admittance to the European Union in 2007; offered the invocation at Idaho's 2006 Republican Lincoln Day Celebration.

Educational Activities—Besides speaking at churches, camp meetings and media events, participated in seminars for law students and attorneys, including a public debate at the University of Idaho Law School.

Workplace Mediation—Consulted for hundreds of individual cases (nearly 170 in 2005 alone) involving labor union problems, Sabbath accommodation and other issues.

Liberty Express—In conjunction with the Northwest Religious Liberty Association, published a journal with articles and information analyzing the prophetic implications of current religious, political and constitutional trends.

Case Load—As religious discrimination for people of faith rises, we must determine how to balance the increasing demand without compromising other priorities.

Lay Leader Network—We plan to train a network of lay leaders to represent public affairs and religious liberty principles to their civic leaders.

August 01, 2006 / Feature