Costa Rica: A Step Forward Say Religious Freedom Leaders
By John Graz
Three religious freedom seminars were held in Costa Rica from January 15 to 17, 2013. The intensive training program organized by Attorney Gloria de Ruiz—IRLA representative for Nicaragua, Panama and Costa Rica—was attended by 250 pastors in addition to local religious leaders. The guest speakers were IRLA Secretary General, Dr. John Graz, and Pastor Roberto Herrera, IRLA Secretary General for the Inter-American Region.
Dr. Graz presented the new challenges of religious freedom in the world and spoke about the work of the IRLA. Herrera focused his presentation on establishing relations with religious leaders. Attorney Ruiz gave a report about the state of religious freedom in Costa Rica. The participants expressed their wish for equality between the churches in Costa Rica. They all recognized the high level of religious freedom in the country. Attorney Ruiz said that: "Costa Rica should take one step more toward separation of Church and State or equality between all Churches."
The seminar participants supported with enthusiasm the proposal to hold a large Festival of Religious Freedom in San Jose in 2014. The Religious Liberty President for these three Central American countries said that the three seminars brought a new vision for the defense and the promotion of religious freedom in Costa Rica.
In March of 2012, the same speakers held similar seminars in Panama and Nicaragua.