President Donald Trump has signed an executive order declaring protecting religious freedom, both a domestic and foreign policy priority. The executive order, called Advancing International Religious Freedom on Tuesday,  prioritized religious freedom as a foundational principle of American foreign policy. Trump prioritizes religious freedom

Per the Order:

Religious freedom for all people worldwide is a foreign policy priority of the United States, and the United States will respect and vigorously promote this freedom.  As stated in the 2017 National Security Strategy, our Founders understood religious freedom not as a creation of the state, but as a gift of God to every person and a right that is fundamental for the flourishing of our society.

Religious communities and organizations, and other institutions of civil society, are vital partners in United States Government efforts to advance religious freedom around the world.  It is the policy of the United States to engage robustly and continually with civil society organizations — including those in foreign countries — to inform United States Government policies, programs, and activities related to international religious freedom.

The operational parts of the order include:

  • Directed U.S. Ambassadors and Foreign Service Officers to promote, defend, and support religious freedom.
  • Prioritized religious freedom in foreign aid programs and directed the State Dept. to use foreign aid and other economic tools to help advance the goal of religious freedom.
  • Instructs the State Department to coordinate with USAID to ensure at least $50 million per year is allocated for programs that advance international religious freedom.

Trump has already tried to advance religious freedom here and overseas. For example,

  • During last year’s meeting of the U.N. General Assembly, President Trump hosted a Global Call to Protect Religious Freedom.
  • Partnering with organizations around the world to provide assistance to persecuted religious minorities.
  • Hosting multiple religious freedoms officials, which more than governments and religious leaders from around the world are committed to fighting religious persecution.
  • Signed an Executive Order to uphold religious liberty and the right to engage in religious speech.
  • Signed an Executive Order establishing the White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative, supporting our nation’s faith-based organizations.

And my personal favorite, he signed an executive order (E.O.) that broadened the federal definition of Antisemitism and ensure Jews protections against discrimination included in Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.

The President didn’t sign the E.O. in a big signing ceremony, as one can see by VP Pence’s tweet.

The date for signing the I.O. and the visit to the Saint John Paul II National Shrine earlier that day was timed to the anniversary of Pope John Paul II first trip to Poland as Pope in 1979. The staunchly anti-communist pope received a hero’s welcome in the very Catholic Poland, his native country still under the thumb of the USSR. Some credited this trip with emboldening Poles to oppose their Communist government; the Solidarity labor movement, which was the first chink in the Iron certain, was founded a year later.

Per the NY Post:

The document intends to enforce the Trump administration’s advocacy for religious minorities abroad.

“The president was clear when he called upon ‘the nations of the world to end religious persecution,’” the official said. “This executive order fully integrates the president’s vision — a vigorous defense of International Religious Freedom rights for all — into key aspects of United States foreign policy.”

They added: “Yet again, President Trump is taking a decisive action to keep his promise to people of faith around the world.”

Trump prioritize religious freedom

Trump prioritizes religious freedom