Religious Freedom, Foreign Policy, and Just Government

This commentary was first published in the Washington Times:

According to Thomas Farr, director of the Religious Freedom Project at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University, the Obama administration did not fill the position of U.S. ambassador of religious freedom for over 2½ years. Speaking at the Debating the Freedoms America Promotes forum in Washington, D.C., on October 18, 2012, Farr also noted that, upon taking office, the current administration removed religious freedom from Department of State human rights reports and attempted to use the religious freedom office to condemn hate speech. 

This parallels President Obama replacing “freedom of religion” with his own phrase “freedom of worship”—a far, far different concept. Only three days after taking office, Obama rescinded the Mexico City Policy and the American government was back in the business of funding family planning providers who also commit abortion—as if eliminating the poor in the Third World is the answer to eliminating poverty. 

A language analysis study that I co-authored with Dr. Judith Reisman found that the language used by the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization and International Planned Parenthood Association—both of whom promote sexual diversity and so-called sexual rights with the encouragement of our own government—did not have one mention of husband, God, or morality. 

Even with sex trafficking rampant, our foreign policy makers ignore and even deride morality teachings based on religion, as atavistic in light of modern sexuality—even though research shows that religious teens delay sexual activity, have fewer sexual partners in adolescence, and establish stronger marriages.

So what is the highest goal of any government? Building roads, assembling massive armies, educating children? Promoting so-called sexual rights and abortion? No. Good and moral governments must serve to advance both society and the individual to their highest potential. While recorded history shows that every type of government imagined has been tried and found lacking, the worst were those that subjugated or rejected religious freedom.

Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany by democratic vote and then engineered the Jewish Holocaust. The Soviet Union’s communists were the first to have the elimination of religion as an ideological objective. Mao Zedong had his Great Leap Forward. Just these three atheist tyrants—Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Zedong—are estimated to have murdered as many as 100 million people. (Documenting the history of recorded warfare in their book, Encyclopedia of Wars, authors Charles Phillips and Alan Axelrod list 1,763 wars. They maintain that only 123—less than seven percent—have been classified as involving a religious cause.)

Like these infamous leaders, why does our own government now careen closer to an ideological foreign and domestic policy that sees man, not God, as the creator of values?

Certainly, governments that guard religious freedom are not always pristine or virtuous: The United States of America was founded upon the quest for religious freedom and liberty but has both embraced slavery—the antithesis of human rights—and also fought to end it. 

In 1857, the Supreme Court ruled in Dred Scott that black slaves were less than human. In 1973, it was the preborn child who was ruled, in Roe v. Wade, as less than human and disposable like property. In both cases, the Constitution itself was used as justification.

So, just government is one informed and limited by transcendental truth, and such truth does not stem from the laws, constitutions, or imaginings of man. Only by defending natural law and religious freedom can the inherent, intrinsic value of every human—of every person—be protected.

Neither the European Convention on Human Rights, the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, nor the United States’ constitutionally enshrined Bill of Rights has purged our society of avarice or atrocity, nor man’s inhumanity to man. Why?

Because when such proclamations in application do not accept timeless truth about the human person, they simply promote ideals, intentions, policies, and governance at a moment in time when certain groups have ascended to power. 

A just government—a correct, moral, and ethical government—can only be achieved if that government acts in the same way to defend each and any person or group of persons against claims or infringement by those more powerful, including the government itself. 

Justice and equality in governance have nothing to do with equal distribution of wealth, obliterating gender and redefining the family, or assigning different values to human life at different stages of the human life cycle—the root of abortion and euthanasia. 

Just government neither forces religion on its citizens nor purges religion from public speech or practice, as is happening today. Neither intrinsic human rights nor faith flows from government or policy, as our government seems to believe today. 

Over 2,000 years ago, Aristotle wrote eloquently of a natural right to liberty that protected the pursuit of individual human “flourishing” distinctive to each individual.  No just government can suppress, violate, or substitute such “inalienable” rights—by action or inaction—and truly be just. 

Our government and our foreign policy would be more consistent, effective, and easier to understand if it were based on transcendental truth and protecting the religious freedoms of all.