Accessibility links

Breaking News

Promoting Religious Freedom is a Moral Imperative


Pakistani Christians hold placards and cross during a protest in Karachi. (File)

“We as a nation benefit immeasurably from the protections granted by our First Amendment, and it is only natural to want others to share in the wealth of that experience," said Daniel Nadel, Senior Official of the Office of International Religious Freedom.

Promoting Religious Freedom is a Moral Imperative
please wait

No media source currently available

0:00 0:03:32 0:00

The State Department recently released its 23rd Report on International Religious Freedom. These reports, explained Daniel Nadel, Senior Official of the Office of International Religious Freedom, demonstrate the United States’ unyielding commitment to promote and defend freedom of religion or belief for all.

It is a “moral imperative,” stressed Senior Official Nadel:

“We as a nation benefit immeasurably from the protections granted by our First Amendment, and it is only natural to want others to share in the wealth of that experience.”

For example, we have found that limiting or even criminalizing religious speech or expression is not a good way to promote tolerance and religious harmony, Senior Official Nadel said:

“While blasphemy laws are particularly pernicious, we are also concerned about laws that aim to regulate a person’s ability to wear or not wear religious attire or symbols, or laws that criminalize proselytization or limit parent’s ability to provide religious education for their children.”

Indeed, excessive government regulation of religious life alienates citizens from their governments and increases the likelihood of violence, explained Mr. Nadel:

“Authorities in many countries continue to constrain religious expression through registration laws or restrictions on religious materials. We now increasingly see governments using the same tactic on the internet, where officials closely monitor and heavily censor religious expression online and arrest or harass those involved in online discourse on religion or belief.”

Mr. Nadel went on to warn that the world must remain vigilant of early warnings of possible mass atrocities around the globe. “In a few short years, we have seen genocide perpetrated by ISIS against Yezidis, Christians, and other ethnic and religious minorities in northern Iraq and Syria. We have seen mass atrocities, including ethnic cleansing, committed by the Burmese military against Rohingya.” And in China the government is perpetrating “crimes against humanity and genocide” against “Muslim Uighurs and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang.”

“The United States is committed to using all available tools, both positive and punitive, to advance [religious freedom,]” declared Mr. Nadel. “For the many people and communities around the world whose stories fill this report, our message today is clear: We see you, we hear you, and we will not rest until you are free to live your lives in dignity and in peace.”

XS
SM
MD
LG