[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book II)]
[November 14, 1998]
[Page 2035]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Statement on the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church
November 14, 1998

    On this International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, I 
want to reaffirm my administration's strong commitment to religious 
freedom around the world.
    Today, in solidarity with millions of people at home and abroad, we 
pray for those who suffer for their beliefs--a suffering forewarned by 
Scripture: ``. . . they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you 
. . . [you will be] brought before kings and rulers for my name's 
sake.'' But with this warning comes the promise, ``I will give you a 
mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to deny or 
resist.'' (Luke 21:12).
    My administration worked closely with Members of Congress and the 
U.S. religious community to secure passage of the International 
Religious Freedom Act of 1998, which is an important addition to our 
ongoing efforts to make the promotion of religious freedom a national 
priority and an integral part of our foreign policy.
    On this day, when we keep in our thoughts the noble struggle for 
religious freedom of people of all backgrounds, whether Muslim, 
Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Taoist, Baha'i, or of any other 
faith, we remember the words of the American Founding Father James 
Madison, who called religious liberty the ``luster of our country.'' And 
we pray that our devotion to religious tolerance will serve as a beacon 
for all people everywhere who yearn for spiritual freedom.

Note: H.R. 2431, the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, 
approved October 27, was assigned Public Law No. 105-292.