WFWP ADVANCES WITH HUMAN RIGHTS AT RELIGIOUS FREEDOM FORUM

WFWP representatives attended the "Stop Religious Persecution Now!" religious rights forum in Washington D.C. to support and network with others of other religions and nations who face oppression, discrimination and abuse.

This story was edited for WFWP purposes from Family Federation News, the full story is available online at familyfed.org

In a town in which politics always trumps religion, the embattled religions raised their voices in a crowd at an unusual day-long conference in Washington, D.C., on July 13, 2011, and members of Congress and the Obama Administration heard their call. "Stop Religious Persecution Now!" was the banner for a meeting of 12 minority religious groups that reported their struggles with persecution.

Before hearing the keynote address from the WFWP founder's daughter Rev. In Jin Moon, two separate panel discussions took place, each religious organization representative was given seven minutes to present current issues they are facing, fighting, and are most demoralized by. Each minority religions were represented, even including such as Baha'i Faith, Scientologists, and Ahmidyya Muslims.

Susan Johnson Cook, Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom told the gathering, "I look forward to partnering with you. I want to hear from each of you, and you can be sure that I am an ambassador that you can reach. Let every person round the globe enjoy religious freedom so that every person has the freedom to believe or not to believe," she stated.

Soon after the panel discussion and their short presentations, Rev. In Jin Moon, shined light on the forced-conversion scandal and reported the plight of persecuted Unificationists in Japan who have been abducted and subjected to forced conversion.

"In Japan 4,300 of our [Unificationist] brothers and sisters have been incarcerated and have suffered mental, emotional, physical and many times sexual abuse. People should be allowed to exercise their faith in a way they choose to, but in Japan these freedoms are being denied." she continued, "As someone who grew up in the late 70s and early 80s, I saw firsthand how cruel and unjust religious persecution can be. There were numerous occasions where I was belittled at school. I was something ugly, something sub-human. Yet I remember my father saying to me: 'Hold your head high, know that you are a daughter of God. Find your dignity in yourself in knowing that you are a divine creature."

She continued, "If we can truly inherit the understanding that we are God's children and that we are here to exercise true love in our lives, we need to encourage, empower and support each other in our efforts. We should have healthy debates, and [look] towards being the kind of people who practice living for the sake of others."

A small group of Japanese victims of religious persecution sat beside politicians and religious officials while applauding Rev. In Jin for her touching remarks and fight against religious oppression.

To end the day, organizations and their representatives listened to reporters and public policy experts in a two-hour-long workshop teaching how to pitch attractive stories about religious rights to the press. They received packets and toolkits designed to build a valid argument that religion is a human as well as political freedom.