Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced a "Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom," to cheers from faith leaders and religious liberty advocates.
"Three months into his new job as secretary, Mike Pompeo has put his stamp on plenty of foreign policy. But this decision to bring the world together on one of the greatest human rights crises of our time could be a turning point for millions of people. Considering that religious freedom cuts against instability and decreases the likelihood of terrorism, everyone in the world has a stake in the Ministerial succeeding," says Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. Perkins also serves on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom
The event will be hosted in Washington, D.C., July 24-26.
"Of course, just because leaders sit down and talk about it doesn't mean the problem of religious persecution will just magically disappear. But it could go a long way to starting a dialogue in some countries that, until now, have been very unwilling to discuss the topic," Perkins says. "After the eight years of the Obama administration, we're more appreciative than ever for President Trump's emphasis on religious liberty. With all of the issues competing for the world's attention, Americans are grateful the White House isn't overlooking one of the most important."
Dr. Tim Clinton, executive director of the James Dobson Family Institute (JDFI), along with Jenna Ellis, Esq., director of the Dobson Public Policy Center, also praised the ministerial.
"The freedom to believe and to express that belief without fear or intimidation is humanity's most basic and precious right," they said in a joint statement. "In fact, it is the right from which all other rights flow. America's history is steeped in the struggle of the persecuted and oppressed to establish this right for themselves and for all generations after them. America's leadership is therefore critical to its preservation and expansion, especially amongst the many marginalized and oppressed peoples around the world. The Dobson Public Policy Center commends the State Department and the entire administration for once again making good on its promises by prioritizing this critical cause and convening the upcoming Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom. We are honored to take part in this historic gathering of governmental, civic and religious advocates who, while not necessarily sharing a common faith, are united by a common cause. Our goal at the Policy Center is to further the domestic and international defense of parents' sacred right to raise their children in accordance with their faith, religious traditions, and convictions."
The Ministerial is the first-ever such meeting dedicated to religious freedom.
According to the State Department, the event will focus on concrete outcomes that reaffirm international commitments to promote religious freedom and produce real, positive change. The Ministerial will convene a broad range of stakeholders, including foreign ministers, international organization representatives, religious leaders and civil society representatives, to discuss challenges, identify concrete ways to combat religious persecution and discrimination and ensure greater respect for religious freedom for all.
"Religious liberty is a source of strength and stability for societies, and the focus that President Donald Trump and his administration have placed on this core principle sends a powerful message within our nation and to governments abroad," says Jerry A. Johnson, president and CEO of NRB. "Indeed, this emphasis is needed now more than ever as affronts to freedom and human dignity grow more severe in many places around the globe."
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