Sam Brownback, United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, on July 24, 2018, called for action by governments, individuals, and activist organizations to work together to protect religious freedom around the world.
His remarks came in Washington in opening remarks to the first Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, sponsored by the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The event is July 24-26 and focuses on concrete outcomes that reaffirm international commitments to promote religious freedom and produce real, positive change. Participants include a broad range of stakeholders, including foreign ministers, international organization representatives, religious leaders, and civil society representatives, to discuss challenges, identify concrete ways to combat religious persecution and discrimination, and ensure greater respect for religious freedom for all.
“We need to use all the might, machinery, and moral authority we have to stop those nations and actors that trample on free souls,” Brownback said. “The lack of religious freedom anywhere is a threat to peace, prosperity, and stability everyone.”
The ambassador recalled a comment from the previous day during an event at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, when someone commented on how unimaginable evil is. But he said our job is to stop it.
“People around the world are being brutalized or killed for practicing their faith,” Brownback said. “This cannot be allowed to continue.”
In a July 4, 2018, speech in Rome, US Ambassador to the Vatican Calista Gingrich also stressed the importance of religious freedom, urging the Vatican and the United States to work together on this important issue.
“Today, millions of people around the world suffer under oppression and tyranny – deprived of freedom, security, and prosperity,” Gingrich said. “Faced with these great challenges, the United States and the Holy See share a deep and enduring commitment to advancing freedom and justice around the world.”
Brownback pointed out that the conference included people from every faith community: “everyone who cares about religious freedom and will join us in the cause. Religious freedom is a right given by God, a beautiful part of our human dignity.”
A number of political and human rights leaders are speaking at the event. Also on the agenda are several people who have survived religious persecution or who representing persons currently imprisoned.