Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has once again struck exactly the right cord in his drive to elevate religious liberty to the forefront of the international human rights agenda. He is reorienting U.S international policy to break the link between American foreign aid and the anti-life/anti-family agenda of prior administrations. In the process he is highlighting the essential First Freedom – religious liberty:

On October 2, 2019, he spoke at a Vatican symposium entitled Pathways to Achieving Human Dignity: Partnering with Faith-Based Organizations hosted by the U.S. Sate Department and the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See. He called out the persecution of Uighurs in China and other nations’ dismal record as well: 

We must recognize the roots of religious repression.  Authoritarian regimes and autocrats will never accept a power higher than their own.  And that causes all sorts of assaults on human dignity.

The full text of his remarks and video are available here.

The symposium featured participations by representatives from prominent faith-based organizations, including the Community of Sant’EgidioAid to the Church in Need, the Adyan Foundation, the AVSI FoundationCaritas Internationalis, and Talitha Kum

They were joined by senior U.S. and Holy See officials from across departments and agencies, including the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Department of State’s Office of International Religious Freedom and Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking-in-Persons, the Holy See’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and the Holy See’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

L.I.F.E.’s prior post, Revolution in the Air, treated Pompeo’s bold creation of a Commission on Unalienable Rights whose charter aims to seat U.S international human rights policy on natural law principles. “Human rights” has become an increasingly political term frequently weaponized to advance agendas far removed from natural law principles and often deployed as a bludgeon the chastise those upholding the dignity of the human person against demands that “human rights” break from its natural law origins and evolve to embrace abortionsame-sex marriage, restrictions on free speech, and more. The Reaction on the left has been to condemn the Commission as a threat to an expansive LGTBQ agenda while powerful support has come from a broad array of concerned policy and service organizations, including The Heritage FoundationConcerned Women for America, Family Research Council, Faith & Freedom CoalitionEagle Forum, Forum for Religious Freedom-Europe (FOREF), First Liberty, Independent Women’s Forum, Coalition for Jewish Values, Americans United for Life, C-Fam, Christian Legal Society, Silent No More Awareness Campaign, The Salt & Light Council, and many more.

Developments at the U.S. State Department have been encouraging under Secretary Pompeo. The latest symposium at the Vatican is a significant statement of support for an international human rights agenda that focuses on the real needs of those denied religious liberty, exploited by human trafficking, forced into practices demanded by global ideological colonization, and struggling to maintain traditional family structures in fractured social environments. 

Thank you Secretary Pompeo.