Why Canada should keep its religious freedom office: US advocates

More advocacy regarding keeping the Office of Religious Freedom, this time from US counterparts, Robert P. George and Katrina Lantos Swett:

This flurry of engagement is happening for good reason: Religious freedom conditions are deteriorating dramatically. According to a number of studies, at least three-quarters of the world’s people live in countries that perpetrate or tolerate serious religious freedom abuses, ranging from the denial of permits to build houses of worship to the imprisonment, torture and murder of the persecuted.

Persecutors include secular tyrannies such as that of China, which persecutes religious adherents from Christians and Uighur Muslims to Tibetan Buddhists and Falun Gong; and North Korea, perhaps the most world’s most repressive country. They also include theocratic states, such as Iran and Saudi Arabia, and violent groups, such as Boko Haram in Nigeria, Buddhist extremists in Myanmar, and the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq (among other places).

Thanks in part to the existence of USCIRF (United States Commission on International Religious Freedom), the U.S. House of Representatives recently gave unanimous approval to a resolution decrying the Islamic State’s horrifying violence against Christians, Yazidis and other religious minorities as religiously motivated genocide. Others have also deemed it genocide, from Pope Francis to the European Parliament.

For humanitarian reasons alone, silence is no option in the face of those who violate religious freedoms. QBut there is a further reason for concern. Speaking in 2014 about the Middle East, Jean Benjamin Sleiman, the Archbishop of Baghdad, said: “I do not think Europe will be calm. This … does not stop at territorial boundaries.” His words were prophetic: Five months later, in January, 2015, the same religious extremism that was plaguing his own country struck the office of the satirical Charlie Hebdo magazine and a kosher supermarket in Paris.

The lesson is clear. Standing up for religious freedom is not just a moral imperative but also a practical necessity for any country seeking to protect its security and that of its citizens. At such a time as this, Canada should not retreat from its leadership role in advancing this fundamental human right.

Religious freedom merits a permanent seat at the table of a great country’s foreign policy. Canada has given freedom of conscience such a seat through its Office of Religious Freedoms. May it retain this critical seat so long as religious freedom is threatened anywhere in the world.

Source: Why Canada should keep its religious freedom office – The Globe and Mail

Robert P. George and Katrina Lantos Swett: Religious Freedom Is About More Than Religion – WSJ.com

Good piece on religious freedom, and how it has to be based upon the freedom of coercion.

Robert P. George and Katrina Lantos Swett: Religious Freedom Is About More Than Religion – WSJ.com.