Protecting our first freedoms:
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The Senate must act now to save Christianity in Iraq

The Hill commentary by Carl Anderson

October 1, 2017

Whether Christianity and pluralism survive in the Middle East, or disappear forever, may well lie in the hands of the U.S. Senate. Earlier this summer, the House unanimously passed HR 390, which would direct American aid to the minority communities - including Christians - targeted by ISIS for genocide. The Christian, Yazidi and Shi'ite communities of Iraq and Syria have faced an evil every bit as hateful and genocidal as previous episodes. Why American bureaucrats have not reacted in keeping with the historical precedent in this instance is unclear. But there is no excuse for the inaction. (pub. date 9/13/17)

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ISIS poses one of the biggest threats to religious freedom, State report says


August 15, 2017

"ISIS is clearly responsible for genocide against Yazidis, Christians and Shia Muslims in areas it controlled," Tillerson wrote in the preface to the 2016 Annual Report on International Religious Freedom. And there are 10 identified "countries of particular concern": Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, which continued last year's designations and followed the recommendations by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom in April. Ambassador Michael Kozak of the State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor said, "There is a growing concern for a need to act. The genocidal acts of ISIS wakened the international threats that religious minorities are facing," Kozak said. "The first good news on the program is that ISIS is being defeated." The State Department began releasing the annual report after the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 was amended under President Bill Clinton to help better assess and protect freedom of religion as a foreign policy.

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Trump moves forward with religious freedom priorities

Washington Examiner

August 8, 2017

The Becket Fund, a non-profit religious liberty law firm praised the choice. Montserrat Alvarado, executive director of Becket, said in a press release, "Gov. Brownback's legacy of promoting and defending religious liberty both in the United States and overseas is strong. As a U.S. Senator, he was one of the [motivating] forces behind the passage of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, key legislation that ensures that the policy of the United States will be to support religious liberty internationally. His robust experience defending religious freedom for people of all faiths makes him uniquely qualified to lead America's international defense of this most sacred and fundamental of human rights, religious freedom." That's not the only sign Trump is prioritizing religious freedom. He's also quietly appointing conservative judges to various courts.

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Six Ways Governor Brownback Can Prioritize International Religious Freedom

FRC commentary by Travis Weber

August 1, 2017

1. Integrate and prioritize religious freedom protections in foreign policy. 2. Fully implement the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act throughout the U.S. government. 3. Protect refugees and asylum seekers with proper attention given to persecution on the basis of religion. 4. Provide foreign assistance to protect the human right of religious freedom. 5. Ensure swift and meaningful U.S. responses to the suppression of religious freedom abroad. 6. Engage international organizations in defending religious freedom. Religious freedom is not to be segmented off in compartments in our lives, and it is not confined to the four walls of our places of worship. The United States used to hold to this robust vision of religious freedom, both at home and abroad.

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Trump's new religious freedom chief has his work cut out for him

The Hill commentary by Andrea Picciotti-Bayer

July 27, 2017

Brownback was a key sponsor of the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) of 1998. IRFA was watershed legislation at the time in recognizing the important leadership of the United States in advancing global religious freedom. Brownback will have his work cut out for him. Religious persecution across the globe is vast and growing fast. Typical estimates indicate that almost 3 out of 4 people in the world live in countries with high or very high governmental restrictions or hostilities toward religion. Many religious communities are threatened with extinction in certain regions. President Trump's choice of Governor Brownback as IRF ambassador at-large is a welcome reminder of the importance this administration - and our country - places on religious freedom. The Senate would do well to quickly confirm their former colleague.

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Remarks by President Trump at the Faith and Freedom Coalition

White House Transcript

June 8, 2017

We're here today to celebrate two values that have always been linked together, and where Ralph [Reed], frankly, has done such a great job in linking them: faith and freedom. Our religious liberty is enshrined in the very First Amendment in the Bill of Rights. The American Founders invoked our Creator four times in the Declaration of Independence. Don't worry, we're not going to let them change it. (Laughter and applause.) You see what goes on nowadays, right? Benjamin Franklin reminded his colleagues at the Constitutional Convention to begin by bowing their heads in prayer. Inscribed on our currency are the words: "In God We Trust." And we proudly proclaim that we are "One Nation Under God," every time we say the Pledge of Allegiance. You just heard a brave six-year-old patriot named Christian Jacobs beautifully recite that Pledge of Allegiance. I first met Christian last week, after the Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, where we honor and remember the American patriots who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

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Persecution of Christians isn't rare

USA Today commentary by Franklin Graham

May 7, 2017

Indeed, more than 75% of the world's population live in areas with severe religious restrictions, and 215 million believers suffer "high, very high or extreme persecution" in the 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, according to Open Doors USA and the Pew Research Center. How is it in this "enlightened" age, with 24-hour news and immediate reporting on the Internet and social media, that governments and people around the world are not uniting and marching in the streets to demand an end to the unjust treatment of people being targeted because of their religion?
We must give voice to those persecuted, educating the world about rampant and unchecked oppression. That's why this week, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, in partnership with Samaritan's Purse, is bringing more than 600 persecuted Christians and advocates from 130 countries to Washington for our first ever World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians.

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Senate Judiciary Committee holds hearings on religious hate crimes

US Dept. of Justice

May 2, 2017

On May 2, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing entitled "Responses to the Increase in Religious Hate Crimes." Special Counsel for Religious Discrimination Eric Treene testified for the Civil Rights Division, emphasizing that combating religion-based hate crimes are an enforcement priority. The testimony highlighted that hate crimes "are a serious problem that the Attorney General believes must be part of our national effort to reduce violent crime." He noted that the Attorney General Jeff Session's signature Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety has established a Hate Crime Subcommittee to focus on improving the identification, prosecution, and prevention of hate crimes, as well as data collection about hate crimes. The task force will hold a summit on hate crimes on June 29, bringing together state, local, and tribal law enforcement, experts, and community groups to explore how best to understand the problem and develop policies and practices to reduce the incidence of hate crimes in America.

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Trump, global religious freedom needs US ambassador to lead

The Hill commentary by Andrea Picciotti-Bayer

April 23, 2017

The Pew Research Center found in 2016 that 74 percent of the world's population lives in countries with high or very high restriction or outright hostility to religion. The Knights of Columbus in a 300-page report documented genocide against Christians in the Middle East - mass murders and deportations, torture, kidnapping for ransom, sexual enslavement and rape of girls and women, forcible conversions to Islam and the destruction of Christian churches, monasteries, cemeteries and artifacts by the Islamic State - and former Secretary of State Kerry designated last year the violence by ISIS against Yezidis, Christians, Shiite Muslims, Sunni Muslims in Iraq and Syria as "ongoing genocide." The recent slaughter of Coptic Christians in Egypt during Sunday worship services is another tragic reminder that we must continue to speak up. International religious freedom is not a "Republican" or "Democrat" issue.

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Christianity in Iraq Appears Doomed to Extinction

FRC commentary by Chris Gacek

April 4, 2017

oday, there are virtually no Jews in the country-fewer than ten live in Baghdad at present. Thus, complete population extinctions that are not caused by disease can take place. White described the situation for Christians as follows: "The time has come where it is over, no Christians will be left. Some say Christians should stay to maintain the historical presence, but it has become very difficult. The future for the community is very limited." The stories of persecution and killing (in some cases by crucifixion) of Christians to compel their conversion to Islam are commonplace. The level of barbarism can hardly be described with any word other than "demonic." The United States government is not without some influence in the area. Although nobody seems to know it, the U.S. has over 10,000 service members fighting in Syria and Iraq. However, our foreign policy establishment has made little effort to require protections for religious minorities. The Trump administration must go in a new direction.

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What Trump can do to secure religious freedom

The Hill commentary by Thomas Farr

February 15, 2017

As a candidate, Donald Trump said very little publicly about rising threats to religious freedom abroad. But recent reports suggest that President Trump may be moving quickly to nominate the official charged by law to lead that element of United States foreign policy: the ambassador at large for International Religious Freedom. Given that President George W. Bush took well over a year to get his nominee in place, and President Barack Obama took more than two, it appears that Trump may be placing a higher priority on international religious freedom than his predecessors. He has ample reason to do so. Studies show that religious freedom can make substantial contributions to democratic stability, economic growth and the undermining of religious violence and terrorism. Unfortunately, studies also show that religious freedom is in global decline, while religious persecution and terrorism are spreading.

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VIDEO: Religious Freedom and the Common Good: A Symposium

Sen. Ben Sasse et al at Religious Freedom Project in Georgetown

November 15, 2016

Our symposium explored the following: To what extent is religious liberty critical for human flourishing? When and how does it contribute to economic prosperity, democratization, and peace? What challenges face religious communities living under repressive governments or hostile social forces? How is the persecution of religion related to other infringements of basic human rights? What is the relationship between religious freedom and violent religious extremism, and is there a role for religious freedom in efforts to undermine radicalization and counter violent religious extremism and terrorism over the long term? Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) delivered a keynote address on the promotion of international religious freedom as an urgent global imperative.

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A Rough Road Ahead for Religious Liberty, World Missions

Breakpoint commentary by Stan Guthrie

August 4, 2016

According to Open Doors, Christians are being martyred at an accelerated pace over the last three years, by a variety of groups, including ISIS. Open Doors counts more than 7,000 Christians killed for their faith last year, a substantial increase from 4,344 in 2014 and 2,123 in 2013. These figures do not necessarily include Iraq, Syria, or North Korea, where accurate numbers are hard to come by. The 2016 report of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) also paints a grim picture. "By any measure," the 276-page report says, "religious freedom abroad has been under serious and sustained assault since . . . 2015." The victims are not just Christians, either, the report says: "From the plight of new and longstanding prisoners of conscience, to the dramatic rise in the numbers of refugees and internally displaced persons, to the continued acts of bigotry against Jews and Muslims in Europe . . .there was no shortage of suffering."

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Defending religious liberty

Washington Times commentary by Frank. R. Wolf

July 27, 2016

During my time in Congress I often reached out to Chuck Colson for his wise advice and counsel. I am struck by Chuck's foresight on the erosion of our religious liberty. [He wrote:] "I believe we are heading for a new Dark Ages, with persecution coming to the church soon. It's going to happen as a result of conflicts over sex. This is where modern human beings do not want to be in any way restrained. They will accept the law that governs them in just about every area of their lives except sexual passion. We must reflect on how we defend religious liberty. We don't want to defend it by claiming our opponents are bigots. Instead, we have to show why, if we allow the government to take away our freedom of conscience, we're going to lose all other liberties. That's the kind of approach that is going to have to be made to get a majority of the people with us."

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Becket's Arriaga sworn in at U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

Becket Fund for Religious Liberty

July 14, 2016

My father fled Fidel Castro's Cuba and lost everything. My father did not stew on his losses. Instead, he stayed focused on the horizon, on the future, and he taught his kids to do the same. Sitting around our kitchen table at night, he would speak about what was possible, not what was lost. He filled me with excitement when he would tell me that in this new country, a young Latina woman from Cuba could do whatever she set her mind to. Speaking to the next generation in Denver and taking the oath of office for USCIRF-both experiences brought me back to that kitchen table. In taking on this role for USCIRF, I want to carry on that spirit of possibility and optimism for all people who suffer, especially for their beliefs.

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2015 Saw A Decrease In Religious Freedom Around The World, Says Annual Report


May 2, 2016

The global refugee crisis, political strife and economic dislocation all contributed to a worldwide deterioration of religious freedom in 2015 and an increase in "societal intolerance," according to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. "At best, in most of the countries we cover, religious freedom conditions have failed to improve," says Princeton professor Robert George, the USCIRF chairman. "At worst, they've spiraled downward." In its annual report, the commission identified 17 countries as "Tier One" concerns, meaning they have "particularly severe religious violations of religious freedom that are systematic, ongoing, and egregious."

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Stand with the Persecuted Sunday

Family Research Council

April 14, 2016

We are calling on churches across America to observe April 17, 2016 as Stand with the Persecuted Sunday.  Please make time during your weekend services to view a brief, 2-minute video, distribute a special bulletin insert, and spend time in prayer for our persecuted brothers and sisters internationally.  While believers face growing hostility in America, we have experienced nothing like the mistreatment, displacement, violence, rape, crucifixions, and beheadings experienced by followers of Jesus in Iraq, Syria, Libya, other parts of the Middle East and beyond.  We are honored to partner with ministries like Open Doors USAThe Voice of the MartyrsInstitute on Religion and DemocracyIn Defense of ChristiansChristian Solidarity Worldwide-USAInternational Christian Concern21st Century Wilberforce, and others who are highlighting the plight of the persecuted.  Please urge your pastor and church to join us on Sunday, April 17 and Stand with the Persecuted.

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Religious Liberty Around the World: Where We Stand

Family Research Council video

April 6, 2016

Religious believers around the world experience violence, repression, and exile of various forms and degrees. It deserves our attention and America's action. This lecture featured remarks by former Congressman Frank Wolf of the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative; Dr. Thomas Farr, Director of the Religious Freedom Project at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University; Tina Ramirez, Founder and Executive Director of Hardwired Global, an organization focused on training and promoting religious freedom around the world.; and Pervez Rafique, President of Bleeding for Belief, an organization working to stop religious persecution in Pakistan and former Member of the Punjab Provincial Assembly in Pakistan.

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Think It Not Strange: Fiery Trials and the Testimony of Christ

Desiring God commentary by John Piper

February 1, 2016

Christianity isn't dying and no research says it is; the statistics about Christians in America are simply starting to show a clearer picture of what American Christianity is becoming - less nominal, more defined, and more outside of the mainstream of American culture. Stetzer puts it like this: The cultural cost of calling yourself "Christian" is starting to outweigh the cultural benefit, so those who do not identify as a "Christian" according to their convictions are starting to identify as "nones" because it's more culturally savvy. So if you picture a continuum with the mere absence of cultural benefits for Christians on one end, and the aggressive persecution of Christians on the other end, Christianity in America is now on that continuum and is moving from indifference to derision to exclusion to hostility.

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World Watch List Highlights Worst Countries for Persecution of Christians

FRC blog by Travis Weber

January 14, 2016

Sadly, predictions about 2015 had come true-persecution of Christians increased on every continent in the last year. While much of the attention is on radical Islam-which is sure to blame-perennial offenders (like #1 North Korea) continue to make a deadly impact with their incredibly repressive state-sponsored persecution. The ten worst nations for persecution of Christians throughout 2015 were North Korea, Iraq, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, Iran and Libya.

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Genocide: “A Problem From Hell”

ACLJ commentary by Harry G. Hutchison

January 4, 2016

On the other hand, the Obama Administration and the State Department, faced with growing calls to acknowledge this genocide, have spent months debating whether to label the Islamic State's attacks against members of only one religious minority, the Yazidis, a "genocide," a classification that carries important legal and political implications. This situation raises an important question: what about others? In particular, what about the largest non-Muslim minority in the Middle East: Christians. In response to the Administration's reluctance to designate Christians as victims of genocide, many organizations and individuals have urged Secretary of State John Kerry to include Iraqi and Syrian Christians as well, thus raising a further question: if not now, when?

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What Christians Do About Persecution

Real Clear Religion commentary by Travis Weber

December 18, 2015

Middle East researchers acknowledged the terrible threat that Middle East researchers acknowledged the terrible threat that ISIS poses to religious freedom, virtually wiping out minority communities, including Christians. Bishop Angelos of the Coptic Church in the United Kingdom said that Western nations don't want to defend the Christians of the Middle East because they fear being seen as biased. If Western nations won't step in to stop ISIS, who will?

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Christianity under attack: US must do more to promote religious freedom

FOX News commentary by Tony Perkins and John McCain

June 25, 2015

As a nation founded in the pursuit of religious freedom, America can and must do more to root-out the religious intolerance that is helping to foster much of the political instability and violence we see today. Specifically, we believe the Obama Administration should integrate the protection of religious freedom into its overall response to growing terrorist threats and development efforts around the world. Doing so would help to eliminate the underlying causes of violent extremism, promote increased international economic stability, and foster greater respect for human rights.

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Religious Freedom Shouldn't Be a "Second or Third Class Concern" for U.S. Policymakers


June 24, 2015

Robert P. George, chairman of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, said, "I believe that our government does care about the plight of Christians in the Middle East. Countries that fail to uphold religious freedom are more likely to be plagued by poverty and insecurity, tyranny and terrorism. Hence, religious freedom belongs prominently at the table with economic and security concerns in the conduct of our foreign policy."

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Let My People Go: The War Against the Eradication of the Global Church

ACLJ blog

June 4, 2015

In Let My People Go: The War Against the Eradication of the Global Church, ACLJ Films shares the powerful stories of the persecuted and those fighting for their freedom. This documentary goes behind the scenes to tell the compelling stories of a number of Christians who have been targeted because of their faith. ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow and others provide a detailed look at what's behind this persecution - the rise of ISIS - the Islamic State.

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Is the Obama Administration Doing All it Can to Protect Christians?

Blog, Speaker John Boehner, commentary by Matt Wolking

April 22, 2015

The global swell of radical Islamic terrorism led by the Islamic State (ISIL) has ushered in an exceptionally dangerous era for religious minorities, particularly Christians. On Sunday, a video surfaced depicting the execution of dozens of Ethiopian Christians in Libya, a country that has descended into terrorism-fueled chaos in recent years. Press Secretary Josh Earnest on Monday said, "We've taken steps regardless of an individual's religious identity to try to protect anybody who is being targeted because of that religious identity." Certainly, "working hard" and "taking steps" to protect "anybody" is better than nothing, but is the White House "doing all it can to protect Christians"? It seems we have our answer...

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Christians thrown overboard left to drown by Obama

USA Today commentary by Kirsten Powers

April 21, 2015

Religious persecution of Christians is rampant worldwide, as Pew has noted, but nowhere is it more prevalent than in the Middle East and Northern Africa, where followers of Jesus are the targets of religious cleansing. Pope Francis has repeatedly decried the persecution and begged the world for help, but it has had little impact. Western leaders - including Obama - will be remembered for their near silence as this human rights tragedy unfolded. The president's mumblings about the atrocities visited upon Christians (usually extracted after public outcry over his silence) are few and far between. And it will be hard to forget his lecturing of Christians at the National Prayer Breakfast about the centuries-old Crusades while Middle Eastern Christians were at that moment being harassed, driven from their homes, tortured and murdered for their faith.

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The Shifting Definition of Religious Freedom: Why We Can't Bow to the New Established Religion

Breakpoint commentary by Eric Metaxas

April 13, 2015

The message is clear: not only should Christians remain silent about gay marriage if we know what's good for us, but we must be made to agree with and even celebrate what Scripture calls sin. As Ana Marie Cox recently said of Christians on MSNBC, "you're going to have to force [them] to do things they don't want to do." But gay columnist Frank Bruni recently took it to the next level in the New York Times, writing that it's time Christians get with the program and "take homosexuality off the sin list."

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The First Line of Defense: Freedom of Conscience

Red State commentary by Randall Brandt

March 17, 2015

We must preserve and promote freedom of conscience. We must promote understanding of and respect for freedom of conscience and belief as an inherent aspect of whom each of us are as human beings and as essential to respect each individual's inherent dignity.

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U.S. must do more for religious freedom, advocates say

Washington Times

October 29, 2014

Katrina Lantos Swett, chairwoman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, said, “We want to see people at the highest levels saying ‘we get it,’ religious freedom is not just a nice issue, it’s central to our foreign policy and national security policy. We are not totally in the dark in the way our government actually works, but what you need is attention from those at the highest level that think this is important, this is a priority that is crucially in our national interest.”

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A Collective Hope for Persecuted Christians in November

The Christian Post commentary by David Curry

October 16, 2014

Today we cannot overlook the fact that approximately 100 million Christians still live under oppression and persecution for expressing their faith in Jesus. Christians living under oppressive regimes cannot walk down the road holding a Bible, read it in freedom, choose for themselves the faith they wish to follow, or express their faith in an open marketplace of ideas without fear of persecution or death. In places like North Korea, ranked highest on Open Doors' World Watch List of countries that persecute Christians, is where more than 70,000 Christians live and work in labor camps for the crime of trying to practice their faith. Or in places like Iraq and Syria, where Jihadist rebels from the Islamic State have pushed Christ-followers from their homes, tried to force conversion to Islam, and tortured and killed people for their faith. But Christians in the West can do something to help. We can let those living under persecution know that they are not forgotten.

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The link between religious freedom and national security

World Magazine interview with Thomas Farr

September 22, 2014

Stability is not possible for a country if it is going to have warring religious groups within it, violent religious extremism. One of the antidotes to that is military. I have no problem personally with the use of drones, for example, if they are used with care for non-combatants, never intending to harm any innocents. However, there's another way to do this. It's called religious freedom. If we could succeed in places like Iraq, or even a better example, Egypt, which says it is trying to develop a democracy-our message to them should be, it won't work without religious freedom.

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If Policy Makers Cared About Data, They'd Care About Freedom of Religion or Belief

The Weekly Number

September 15, 2014

Based on these trends and empirical relationships, it is therefore in the interest of policy makers throughout the world to respect and protect freedom of religion or belief (FoRB), because FoRB promotes peace and stability, respects diversity, guards the rights of minorities and women, and creates environments where economic competitiveness flourishes and sustainable development is possible. It is also in the interests of businesses to protect religious freedom within their companies and communities. Indeed, businesses are at the crossroads of culture, creativity and commerce, and therefore can and should be among the most FoRB-Friendly institutions on earth.

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State Department Releases Report on International Religious Freedom

Acton Institute commentary by Joe Carter

August 1, 2014

Once again, North Korea stands out as the worst offender for "its absolute prohibition of religious organizations and harsh punishments for any unauthorized religious activities." Other countries of note were Saudi Arabia, Iran and Sudan - each of which put severe restrictions on members of religious groups that did not conform to the state-approved religion - as well as China, Cuba, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, countries where religious activity was only lawful if explicitly authorized by the state. Reports on each of the countries can be found here.

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Obama accused of callous disregard for religious liberty

The Blaze

July 31, 2014

President Barack Obama's nomination of Rabbi David Nathan Saperstein - director of Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and a Georgetown University professor - to serve as ambassador at large for international religious freedom at the U.S. State Department has brought with it some harsh critique. Ashley McGuire, senior fellow with the Catholic Association, a faith-based organization that advances religious liberty, flatly decried the choice, saying it shows President Barack Obama's "callous disregard for religious liberty."

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Southern Baptists cite threats to religious freedom in world

Washington Times

June 11, 2014

Speaking on the second and final day of the SBC's national meeting at the Baltimore Convention Center, Russell Moore said members shouldn't "call it a comeback" because the history of the Baptist faith is rooted in persecution. "We're living in a time right now in which religious liberty is imperiled at home and around the world," said Mr. Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

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The Public Value of Private Faith

National Review Online commentary by Jay Hein

June 5, 2014

Religion is the No. 1 motivation for giving and serving in America. Christian faith prompted the rise of such historic charities as the Red Cross, YMCA, Salvation Army, United Way, and Goodwill Industries. Today, of the $300 billion donated to charity in America each year, 32 percent is directed to religious causes. Educational institutions rank a distant second, at 14 percent.

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Ashamed of the Gospel?

National Catholic Prayer Breakfast speech by Robert P. George

May 13, 2014

To unashamedly proclaim the Gospel in its fullness is to place in jeopardy one’s security, one’s personal aspirations and ambitions, the peace and tranquility one enjoys, one’s standing in polite society. One may in consequence of one’s public witness be discriminated against and denied educational opportunities and the prestigious credentials they may offer; one may lose valuable opportunities for employment and professional advancement; one may be excluded from worldly recognition and honors of various sorts; one’s witness may even cost one treasured friendships.

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Freedom of religion or belief is a foreign policy priority

The Hill commentary by Robert P. George

May 1, 2014

Societal well-being tends to suffer when religious freedom is unprotected. Politically, religious freedom abuses are linked with abuses of other human rights. Economically, religious persecution can marginalize the persecuted, causing their talents to go unrealized and robbing affected countries of added productivity and abundance. Civically, whenever religious liberty is violated, nations surrender the benefit religious beliefs may yield through the molding of character which enables the responsible exercise of citizenship. Socially, wherever freedom of religion is abused, peace and security may be threatened, affecting these societies and in some cases the security of the United States and the world.

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Global war on Christianity is violent and real

Boston Globe

April 12, 2014

Dutch Jesuit priest Frans van der Lugt, killed in Syria last week just shy of his 76th birthday, spent 50 years in his adopted country, humbly serving poor and disabled persons regardless of their race or religion. On Monday morning, a still-unidentified assailant dragged him into the street outside his Jesuit residence, beat him, and then shot him twice in the head.

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