Religious freedom must be an intergal part of U.S. foreign policy
Religious freedom around the world is in decline. It should be a matter of great concern for all freedom-loving people.
We need to face the fact that unless the various communities of faith in the U.S. come together with a clear message and a unified effort, the plight of millions of people around the world whose right to freely express their faith will not improve.
Whenever religious freedom is being denied or abused, it is a serious indicator that there are other serious issues in that society that are either present or getting ready to take place.
The persecution of Christians and other religious adherents, as well as other human rights violations, are waxing rather than waning in the world. This situation will not improve without the active engagement of the United States. A sad but true reality in the 21st century is that without principled American leadership, this issue will not be actively addressed.
The 2012 presidential election provides a tremendous opportunity to raise awareness of this critical issue. I am pleased that Open Doors USA is requesting each of the presidential candidates to sign a pledge to maintain religious freedom for all Americans and to “advance international religious freedom as part of American foreign policy.”
From a human perspective, if the people of the United States do not insist that their government make this a priority issue with the governments who do not permit their citizens to freely practice their faith, there will be no relief for millions and millions of Christians who are suffering persecution and martyrdom around the world. As Americans, we have a unique opportunity to act, and that gives us a tremendous amount of responsibility for the defense of this basic human right.
As the pledge indicates, religious freedom should be an integral part of the foreign policy of any U.S. presidential administration. It is more than duplicitous for us as Americans to enjoy this freedom for ourselves but to not actively advocate it for all people.
Freedom denied to anyone today could be freedom denied to everyone tomorrow.
To learn more about the Pledge for Religious Freedom, click here.