Religious Freedom Is Beyond Partisan

September 20th, 2018 5:57 PM

Tuesday afternoon, Politico ran the headline “Pompeo raises eyebrows with appearance at politically charged event.” Yes, you guessed it — that event is this weekend's Values Voter Summit, which Politico reports is sponsored by the “deeply conservative Family Research Council.” The 1,257 word article goes on to cite various past State Department officials who express concern about Secretary Mike Pompeo addressing a “partisan affair.” Politico said it couldn't find evidence of past secretaries of state speaking at similar events. However, a quick Google search reveals that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke at a Planned Parenthood gala in 2009 and the Center for American Progress in 2011.

As I noted on my radio show Tuesday night, Secretary Clinton's speech praised Planned Parenthood and promised to make international family planning (including abortion) a top global policy goal. “I want to assure you that reproductive rights...will be a key to the foreign policy of this administration.” She described a new age of integrating “family planning” and diplomacy. “At the end of the next four years, I hope we'll be able to look around the world and see that...organizations like Planned Parenthood will be our partners." Over the last three election cycles, Planned Parenthood entities have spent $38 million on elections — making the group even more political than Family Research Council.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert responded in a statement to the Daily Signal, “If speaking about protecting human rights and liberty, including highlighting the persecution of Christians, Jews, Uighurs Muslims and other religious minorities around the world is considered wrong or offensive, then we as a nation have truly lost our way. Secretary Pompeo will continue to advance US foreign policy interests as he continues to advocate on behalf of the oppressed.”

Mike Pompeo's actions back up these words. I have seen first-hand that Secretary Pompeo has made international religious freedom a foreign policy priority — a matter which is especially important given that we now know religious freedom, long protected for its own sake, is also intricately connected to the security and prosperity of nations.

We will only have sustainable, long-term peace if America actually makes religious freedom a foreign policy priority. Mike Pompeo understands this and is why he organized the State Department's first ever Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom — a gathering that brought foreign government leaders together to “identify concrete ensure greater respect for religious freedom for all.” One of those concrete ways is to increase awareness of and engagement on behalf of persecuted religious minorities. Almost every day we learn of more horrific incidents of persecution — such as a Pakistani Christian killed in a brutal acid attack or continued attacks on Rohingya Muslims.

I applaud Pompeo for drawing the world's attention to these crimes against humanity. With national security expert Pompeo at the helm, and Ambassador-at-Large for Religious Freedom Sam Brownback working with him, I believe we will be celebrating international religious freedom accomplishments years down the road.

Editor's Note: This column has been cross-posted from the Family Research Council.