On Monday, President Trump hosted and spoke at the United Nations’ Global Call to Protect Religious Freedom event. The President was introduced by Vice President Mike Pence, who also prefaced his introduction with a recap of international human rights abuses against various religious groups. The purpose of the event was to draw attention to persecution around the world against people of faith, and to seek cooperation from nations in combating it.
“There’s no better time for a meeting like this on the world stage,” the Vice President declared in his remarks. “As we gather here at the United Nations, more than 80 percent of the world’s population live in nations where religious freedom is threatened or banned.”
Pence listed religiously motivated attacks just in the past year which killed 11 Jews at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 51 Muslims at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, and 300 Christians during Easter services in Sri Lanka.
“These attacks strike at the heart of everything free peoples hold sacred,” he emphasized.
The President spoke next, noting first the efforts his administration has taken to defend religious freedom internationally, including holding two Religious Freedom Ministerials at the U.S. State Department during which over 100 governments and religious leaders committed to fight against religious persecution. The U.S. has also provided humanitarian aid to help Christians and Yazidis who suffered at the hands of ISIS, and recently held a Summit on Combating Anti-Semitism hosted by the U.S. Department of Justice.
The President also spoke about the specific case of world-wide persecution against Christians, noting that, “Eleven Christians are killed per day for following the teachings of Christ.”
He then spoke of recurring incidents involving the intentional destruction of religious sites and relics. He pledged an additional $25 million from the U.S. in an effort to protect those sites and relics, as well as international religious freedom in general.
The President announced the beginning of a new religious freedom initiative involving the private sector. “The United States is forming a coalition of U.S. businesses for the protection of religious freedom. This is the first time this has been done,” he stated. “This (initiative) will encourage the private sector to protect people of all faiths in the workplace.”
The President concluded his remarks by urging further cooperation among nations. “Today I ask all nations to join us in this urgent moral duty,” he said. “We ask the governments of the world to honor the eternal right of every person to follow their conscience and live by their faith and give glory to God.”
You can view the President’s and Vice President’s remarks here.
Photo from C-SPAN