– ADF International and the James Dobson Family Institute co-sponsored a parental rights companion event Thursday during the U.S. State Department’s “Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom
.” Hosted by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the ministerial is a three-day gathering of high-level government officials, civil society representatives, and religious leaders to discuss the right to religious freedom as a U.S. foreign policy priority.
“The State Department has turned an important corner in calling for this event,” said ADF International CEO Michael Farris. “For the first time in a very long time, we have returned attention to the very roots of this nation. Religious freedom stands at the pinnacle of our concerns, just as it did for our nation’s founders.”
In the course of the ministerial, Farris spoke at the “Parental Rights: A Matter of Religious Freedom?” event. He mentioned the case of the Wunderlichs
, a German home-schooling family whose children were taken unannounced into state custody by police after they used a battering ram to access the family’s house. Although the children were eventually returned to the family, ADF International, together with the Home School Legal Defense Association, brought a case before the European Court of Human Rights to challenge Germany’s education laws.
“Religious freedom and parental rights are not side issues. They are absolutely central to freedom,” Farris explained. “Nations that violate fundamental human rights are properly considered rogue states. No country should strip their citizens of their parental right to direct the religious and moral education of their children.”
Other speakers at the event included Dr. Tim Clinton, executive director of the James Dobson Family Institute; Tony Perkins, commissioner of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, and Michael Donnelly, director of global outreach at HSLDA.ADF International is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.