This editorial is based on one originally posted by the Religious Freedom Institute as a commentary here.
Prompted by his recent article in the Wall Street Journal titled, “American Diplomacy Abandons Religious Freedom,” RFI President Tom Farr joined the Issues, Etc. podcast and radio show for a discussion on the state of America’s domestic and international religious freedom policies. During the interview, Farr explained how the United States is compromising its moral leadership abroad by marginalizing religious freedom, both at home and in its foreign policy.
Farr clarified one of the key limits of religious freedom, saying, “Religious freedom is not about protecting the right to be violent because you say your religion wants you to be violent… that’s not religious freedom. That’s religious people using their religion to harm others.”
Farr went on to explain that a variety of what he calls “morally orthodox” religious communities “are being stigmatized and, in effect, banned from our public life, and that is a genuine assault on our first freedom.”
Additionally, Farr pointed out how the Equality Act, which is currently pending in the U.S. Senate (and has already passed in the House of Representatives), would further undermine America’s global leadership in promoting religious freedom, as it would further signal a troubling and harmful equivalency between historically recognized fundamental human rights and recently created special legal protections.
Virginia’s two US Senators, Mark Warner (D) and Tim Kaine (D), are on record as co-sponsoring what has been labeled the Equality Act.
“We are beginning to condition our aid on the acceptance of sexual orientation and gender identity as fundamental human rights that are more important than religious freedom. I think that is outrageous. It is ignoring the American Constitution, and it is also ignoring the International Religious Freedom Act signed by President Clinton.” Farr noted that governments that start creating their own definitions of unalienable rights become tyrannical, citing China and Russia as examples.
Listen to the full podcast episode here.