RFI President Eric Patterson wrote an article published in WORLD Magazine this week in which he points to a new report of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom while reflecting on The International Religious Freedom Summit Charter and how it “helps us understand the capacious nature of religious freedom.” Patterson writes:
On May 1 the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), a bipartisan government agency, released its annual report. In an era where some voices on both the political left and the political right argue for some form of isolationism, the very existence of USCIRF and other human rights mechanisms in U.S. foreign policy affirm that that the United States remains a city on a hill, a source of hope and an engine for justice worldwide.
Tragically, we live in a world where more than “more than 75% of the world’s countries had low or very low levels of religious freedom based on government interference.” Sadly, report reveals that not much has changed in places such as North Korea, China, Burma, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and elsewhere. Moreover, a number of countries have become more dangerous for Christians in recent years, most notably Cuba, Vietnam, Nicaragua, and especially violent Nigeria, where thousands of Christians are slaughtered each year.
That being said, religious freedom is our first and most fundamental freedom and it is both morally right and practical to champion it, as the United States does under the guidelines of the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act. Religious liberty is not just the right of private worship, but much, much more. The International Religious Freedom Summit Charter, a document tied to an annual meeting of religious freedom experts in Washington, D.C., is a useful one-page affirmation that helps us understand the capacious nature of religious freedom at home or abroad.
Read the full article: “Our First Freedom is In the Crosshairs.”