“The United States is founded on the principle that our rights do not come from government; they come from God. This immortal truth is proclaimed in our Declaration of Independence and enshrined in the First Amendment to our Constitution’s Bill of Rights. Our Founders understood that no right is more fundamental to a peaceful, prosperous, and virtuous society than the right to follow one’s religious convictions.”
With these powerful and truthful words, President Trump opened up his address to the United Nations as the first President to convene a U.N. meeting on religious freedom. America has long been a beacon of freedom for the rest of the world, and he displayed his intentions to continuing leading the free world in this effort.
This past year, tragically 11 Jews were murdered in the Tree of Life Synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a gunman killed 51 Muslims at prayer in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, and suicide bombers murdered more than 300 Christians during Easter services at three Christian churches in Sri Lanka. These horrendous events highlight the importance of religious liberty around the globe. No person should be scared to exercise their religion.
In coordination with the President’s speech, the White House also released a factsheet on the direct steps the Administration is taking to protect religious liberty. A few highlights include the State Department’s 2019 Religious Freedom Ministerials, where global leaders met together to come up with action steps that foster religious freedom. Closer to home, the President has enacted freedom of conscience protections at various levels, like the Department of Health and Human Service’s rule providing conscience protections for healthcare workers and ensuring Americans are not forced to violate their beliefs by complying with the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate.
It is encouraging that America is taking the lead on defending a fundamental human right. We should all take the President’s advice when he said, “Today, I ask all nations to join us in this urgent moral duty. We ask the governments of the world to honor the eternal right of every person to follow their conscience, live by their faith, and give glory to God.”