President Obama Hit All the Right Notes
President Obama hit all the right notes when defending religious freedom at the recent National Prayer Breakfast. He reiterated again how deeply embedded this human right is in both the history and culture of America. Additionally, America's emphasis on religious freedom provides hope for other countries struggling with this issue. For America, it helps ensure security. Human rights and security go hand in hand. When a populace feels that the government has their best interest at heart, that populace proves to be more loyal to the government. Loyalty enhances stability, and stability leads to increased security.
Most importantly, the President put a "face" on the issue of religious freedom by calling attention to two missionary/pastors presently in jail because of their faith, Kenneth Bae in North Korea and Saeed Abedini in Iran. Abstractions never create a sense of urgency, but this is clearly an issue with a name, a pulse, a personality, -- and a face.
Similarly, one tangible expression of the urgency embodied in this issue is the filling of the now vacant position of Ambassador-at-Large for Religious Freedom in the State Department. Moving quickly on this vacancy suggests its importance to our own foreign policy establishment and its priority when dealing with the global community.
Robert Seiple, President
International Religious Liberty Association