In an opinion piece published in The Hill, Tenzin Dorjee, Chair of Bipartisan U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, and Vice Chair Kristina Arriaga put last week’s Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom into perspective.
“The Hill” points out that the one foreign policy issue on which the White House and Democrats and Republicans in Congress have agreed for over two decades is the global promotion and protection of religious freedom: the fundamental human right to believe in and be guided by any faith, or none.
“As articulated in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and codified in the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (IRFA), freedom of religion or belief means the rights of citizens are not dependent on their religious identity, practices or beliefs. This ‘first freedom’ is the basis for many other rights, like the freedoms of speech, expression and association,” they wrote. “In many countries where religious freedom is denied, not only are those countries’ inhabitants at risk, their national security and stability is undermined. Relatedly, freedom of religion or belief is crucial to America’s national security.”
The authors also point out that the same countries and organizations that suppress religious freedom also pose many other threats to their own people, America and the world at large, because “where freedom of religion or belief is restricted, poverty and violence begin. It is in the countries that deprive their citizens of freedom of conscience that human trafficking and forced labor flourish. And it is in these countries that the roots of terrorism are sown.”
“Countries and organizations that suppress religious freedom threaten American and global security,” they state. “Everyone should be encouraged by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s initiative to hold this ministerial. Protecting this fundamental right is not just a means of demonstrating our country’s bipartisan commitment to human dignity and global peace and stability, it’s in our national security interest.”
From its beginnings, the Church of Scientology has recognized that freedom of religion is a fundamental human right. In a world where conflicts are often traceable to intolerance of others’ religious beliefs and practices, the Church has, for more than 50 years, made the preservation of religious liberty an overriding concern.
The Church publishes this blog to help create a better understanding of the freedom of religion and belief and provide news on religious freedom and issues affecting this freedom around the world.