Return to Religious Liberty in America Fueling Revival Abroad

Are we beginning to see evidence of a revival of universal religious freedom? World leaders are noticing America’s about-face from the disregard of this fundamental freedom. What’s changed? As we approach the one-year anniversary of President Trump’s executive order on religious freedom, it’s becoming clear that the domestic policies of our federal government have gone beyond an armistice agreement to dismantling the Obama administration anti-religious expression war machine and replacing it with policies and personnel committed to protecting and promoting our First Freedom.

No longer are the Little Sisters of the Poor being forced to violate their religious convictions on life through the HHS mandate. In fact, the federal agency used by Obama to launch this attack has turned 180 degrees creating a Conscience and Religious Freedom Division under the Office for Civil Rights to restore federal enforcement of our nation’s laws that protect the fundamental and unalienable rights of conscience and religious freedom. Small business owners like Don Vander Boon, owner of West Michigan Beef Company, are no longer forced to sacrifice their religious freedom on the altar of big government now that the Trump USDA has brought their policies in line with last May’s executive order.

The military, which the Obama administration turned into a battlefield over religious freedom, has also reversed course. The most recent example being the Air Force’s historic reversal in the case of Colonel Leland Bohannon, who was denied a promotion for asking for and receiving a religious exemption from signing a certificate of spousal appreciation for a retiring master sergeant’s same-sex spouse. President Trump’s Air Force Secretary, Heather Wilson, announced Bohannon’s exoneration.

Leaders abroad are observing this restoration of religious freedom here in America. Just this past weekend, I met privately again with top Jordanian officials to discuss both the strains on their country due to the humanitarian crisis of the Syrian refugees and how a greater emphasis on religious freedom may aid in solving the crisis by attracting more religious NGOs to the country. Among the Muslim majority nations in the Middle East, Jordan has respected the freedom of worship in its government policies. But more can be done to protect religious expression. Other countries, like Egypt, are also taking note of America’s renewed priority on religious freedom.

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The Obama administration replaced the promotion and protection of religious freedom with the strong-arming of countries to adopt their LGBT and anti-life agendas. This rejection of religious freedom as a priority resulted in rampant persecution and genocide. Look for the Trump administration’s policies protecting religious freedom both domestically and abroad to lead to increased international respect and protection of this fundamental human right.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law. (Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)

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