The following is excerpted from the Church Newsroom. To read the full article, CLICK HERE.

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said Wednesday, October 14, 2020, that the labeling of religion as a non-essential activity by some governments has placed an unfortunate stumbling block along the path to recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To be sure, the Apostle said, religious activities should be carefully limited when necessary. Individual safety is always a core concern. But, he told a global gathering of some 500 faith and policy leaders gathered virtually for the seventh Group of 20 (G20) Interfaith Forum, “how secular officials understand religion and religious people deeply influences how they treat religious institutions and believers in a time of crisis. The deeper and more respectful the understanding, the more legitimate and effective public policy responses can be.”

This is a key message for the G20 Interfaith Forum because the organization pursues solutions to global problems through collaboration with a wide variety of religious and policy leaders. Recommendations from this five-day gathering will be presented in November to the G20, chaired this year by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The G20 brings together the heads of the world’s leading economies. It is the premier forum for international economic cooperation.

What, then, should government officials understand about the role of religion — both in society and in the life of each believer? Faith communities help billions of people find meaning and purpose, Elder Bednar said. They transmit “moral and social truths to the next generation.” These, he added, are vital functions.

This is why, Elder Bednar noted, religious freedom is recognized in international law as a “non-derogable” right. “Non-derogable” means religion is a freedom that is inviolable, even in emergencies.

To read the full article, CLICK HERE.