Source: Adventist News Network
On June 22, 2006 the Adventist News Network reported, "On a warm Saturday afternoon, 32,000 'Paulistanos,' as residents of this 10.9 million population city are known, assembled for an important purpose: to learn about and promote religious freedom. Although the crowd was far greater than the Ibirapuera Gymnasium could hold, some judicious arrangements allowed almost everyone to hear part of the event. The first 'Religious Liberty Festival' held by Brazilian Seventh-day Adventists and the International Religious Liberty Association (IRLA), drew attendees from across society, including representatives of other Christian and Jewish groups. The large turnout for the event impressed organizers with the many Brazilians' commitment to freedom of conscience. 'We celebrate religious liberty because people who do not have liberty do not have a way to demand their rights. We praise God because we live in a country that is free from war and religious intolerance and [that] through music we can express this gratitude,' said Adventist Pastor Williams Costa Jr., communication and religious liberty leader for the church in South America, 'This was the greatest concentration of people in relation to the topic of religious liberty [I have] ever seen,' added Dr. John Graz, secretary-general of IRLA, and public affairs and religious liberty director for the world church. At the same time, Internet 'webcasts' of the day's event reached nearly 125,000 people, a number enhanced by national television and radio broadcasts over the Adventist-owned Novo Tempo (New Times) networks."