Secretary of State Mike Pompeo commemorated International Religious Freedom Day by reminding Americans religious freedom is “the first among the rights enumerated in our Constitution.”
“Today, we reaffirm the inherent worth and dignity found in every person, who are endowed by our Creator with inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” the secretary said in remarks on Friday, the 20thanniversary of the signing of the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act (IRF ACT) into law.
“The IRF Act expanded U.S. foreign policy capabilities to promote and defend religious freedom around the world,” Pompeo said. “It builds on our founding fathers’ firm conviction that the freedom of individuals to believe as they see fit is a God-given right that is central to the success of a nation.”
The secretary continued:
The protection of religious freedom is central to the Trump administration’s foreign policy, and protecting this human right is an essential part of who we are as Americans. Religious freedom appears first among the rights enumerated in our Constitution. Where religious freedom flourishes, there is greater stability and more economic opportunity.
Pompeo said “we have made significant progress” since the signing of the IRF Act.
He added that the State Department team, led by International Religious Freedom Ambassador Sam Brownback, works to promote religious freedom each day.
“But on this day, we are also mindful of those places around the world where so many are not free to worship or live out their faith as they choose,” Pompeo said. “Though the challenges to religious freedom are daunting, they are not insurmountable, and we will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that all may enjoy this universal freedom.”