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Religious Freedom Day Highlights Increased Restrictions

Religious Freedom Day Highlights Increased Restrictions

On Thursday, February 16, President Obama issued a proclamation observing Religious Freedom Day.

“America proudly stands with people of every nation who seek to think, believe, and practice their faiths as they choose,” he said. “In the years to come, my Administration will remain committed to promoting religious freedom, both at home and across the globe. We urge every country to recognize religious freedom as both a universal right and a key to a stable, prosperous, and peaceful future.”

In a post on CNN’s Belief Blog, Robert P. George and Katrina Lantos Swett noted that religious freedom rarely receives the attention and support it deserves –yet it remains a crucial necessity for stability and progress worldwide.

“Freedom of religion or belief is also intimately bound up with other freedoms, including expression, association and assembly,” George and Swett wrote.” As it is often the first right taken away, religious freedom serves as the proverbial canary in the coal mine, warning us that denial of other liberties almost surely will follow.”

The authors of the post pointed to a recent Pew study that shows restrictions on freedom of religion on the rise in each of the five major regions of the world.

“Supporting religious freedom or belief abroad is not just a legal or moral duty, but a practical necessity that is crucial to the security of the United States – and the world – as it builds a foundation for progress and stability,” they concluded.

President Obama said that the day marks an opportunity to focus on protecting and advancing religious freedom. “As we observe this day, let us celebrate America's legacy of religious liberty, embrace diversity in our own communities, and resolve once more to advance religious freedom in our time,” he said.

Publication Date: January 17, 2014.