President Bush Honors the 10th Anniversary of the International Religious Freedom Act
President Bush Honors the 10th Anniversary of the International Religious Freedom Act
By Albert N. Milliron, Editor, Politisite.com
The Main Stream media is under reporting this news today. President Bush celebrated our 1st Amendment right which is The First Amendment to the United States Constitution that prohibits the United States Congress from making laws "respecting an establishment of religion" or that prohibit free exercise of religion . (source The Constitution of the United States with Amendments)
This Amendment has become obscure over the years as our founding Fathers, being oppressed by the Church of England, and subject to its influence in their lives, chose to end a particular church to control the activities of the country. Rather the activities of the country was from the people to the government and the Government establishment of laws would be from an Executive (not a King), a congress, and a Judicial branch of government.
Today, the Establishment clause has been called Separation of Church and State. Something that doesn't not appear in the constitution or any of its Amendments. America was founded on Judea-Christian principles. Most of our laws have a foundation in the in the Jewish Law and the Christian New testament.
When one argues that the United States is ultimately a Christan nation often a document called the The Treaty of Tripoli will be placed on the table that says, "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Musselmen; and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."
This should be the Trump card of any argument. The problem comes when one looks are Libya and their own laws. As a Muslim country, they were prohibited to do business with Christians. The Koran specifically said, "do not make a Christian your friend". Those scholars translate that as, "do not enter into a business relationship with Christians". In order to appease Libya, the authors of the Document were asked to put in a statement that they were not Christian. This provided that both countries could do business together and Libya could say they were not violating the laws of the Koran.
Was this the right thing to do? Well from the stand point of calling oneself a Christian and being one who practiced the scriptures, which tells Christians not to, "be unequally yoked with unbelievers". Both had issues with doing business with someone out side of their faith. There was a belief that many followed that Christan beliefs did not follow to faith issues. One could say that this statement added into the Tripoli document was not against ones faith. Citing Abraham lieing to its enemies. So the document being used as a declaration that we are not a Christian nation is convincing to those who are unaware of the background of the document but, when one understands how this document was negotiated it has little to do with America's true structure.
Being a nation based on Judea-Christan principals does not dis allow for the free exercise of other beliefs. There is no queen or King or Church of England to dictate behavior. People of all faith fall under our constitution. Being based on Christian principles allows for others to practice their faith. I challenge anyone, who uses the new testament, where other faiths were imprisoned, restricted, or stifled in anyway from practicing their faith.
Here is the President Bush Speech in full, Provided by the White House.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all, please be seated. Welcome. I want to welcome Congressman Wolf, Congressman Smith, Congressman Franks, former Senator Nickles; thank you all for coming. I'm so honored that you've come to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the International Religious Freedom Act.
This legislation that we commemorate today builds on a tradition that defined our nation. After all, when the Founding Fathers adopted the Bill of Rights, the very first liberty they enshrined was the freedom of religion. They recognized that the most basic freedom a man can have is the right to worship his own God as he sees fit. Today we are blessed to live in a country where that freedom is respected.
In too many countries, expressions of freedom were silenced by tyranny, intolerance and oppression. So a decade ago, members of Congress -- I suspect some of the members here -- and religious leaders and human rights activists came together to advance religious freedom around the globe. The result of their work was the International Religious Freedom Act. The bill created vital diplomatic tools to help our government to promote religious liberty abroad. The Act established an ambassador-at-large position to ensure that religious liberty remains a priority of every administration -- and I want to thank our current Ambassador, John Hanford, for joining us today. And thank you for taking on this important job.
The Act established the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom to monitor the state of religious liberty worldwide. The Act requires annual reporting on the state of religious freedom in every nation, to help identify the most egregious offenders. The Act authorizes sanctions against regimes.
In all these ways, the Act has placed religious liberty where it belongs -- at the center of U.S. foreign policy.
We've seen some hopeful progress during the last couple of years. We've seen in Turkmenistan, where the nation's chief mufti had been ousted and imprisoned for refusing to teach state propaganda as a sacred religious text. Through efforts authorized by the International Religious Freedom Act, the United States pressed for the mufti's release. In 2007, mufti Ibadullah pardoned and freed -- he has since become an advisor to Turkmenistan's Council on Religious Affairs.
We've seen some progress in Vietnam. The United States used the tools of this Act to press for the release of dozens of religious prisoners -- all of whom have been freed. Vietnam's government has reopened many of the churches it had shut down. And most religious groups report a decrease in the government's oppression of believers. This Act has encouraged Vietnam to take some promising first steps toward religious liberty -- and we're going to continue to work toward the day when all Vietnamese are free to worship as they so desire.
The 10-year anniversary of the International Religious Freedom Act is also an occasion to remember the many people who have yet to secure this precious liberty. Our thoughts turn especially to those living in the countries where religious freedom is of particular concern. Some of these nations have taken steps toward reform. Others haven't. Today we urge the leaders of all these countries to immediately end their abuses of religious freedom. And we urge these leaders to respect the rights of those who seek only to worship their God as they see fit.
Today, we remember those seeking religious freedom in Iran, where the regime's anti-Semitism has provoked global outrage. We remember those seeking religious freedom in Eritrea, where approximately 3,000 religious prisoners languish in the nation's jails. We remember those seeking religious freedom in Sudan, where police have used tear gas to attack a Christian church, and where Christian leaders who met with a Muslim woman wanting to convert were beaten and detained.
We remember those seeking religious freedom in North Korea, where those caught practicing faiths other than the state ideology are imprisoned, and people found with Bibles can be executed. We remember those seeking religious freedom in Burma -- especially the nation's Buddhist monks, who have endured brutal raids on their monasteries, and suffered tear gas attacks and gunfire during peaceful protests.
We remember those seeking religious freedom in Uzbekistan, where in the past members of religious minorities have been beaten and jailed -- yet where recent agreements give us hope that these abuses will not be repeated in the future.
We remember those seeking religious freedom in Saudi Arabia, where the religious police continue to harass non-Muslims -- yet where we also believe reforms pledged by King Abdullah can bring real change. We remember those seeking religious freedom in China, and we honor those who press for their liberties -- people like Uighur Muslims. I had the honor of meeting Rebiya Kadeer. I've also had the honor of meeting those who attend underground churches in China. And we also honor the courage of the Dalai Lama, and the Buddhists in Tibet.
And you know, last month here at the White House I met with a Chinese dissident named Li Baiguang. He's a lawyer who worked on human rights cases; he's a "house church" Protestant. For his work, he's been repeatedly jailed and attacked. A few weeks ago, he was scheduled to meet with members of Congress. State authorities blocked the meeting and detained Li on the outskirts of Beijing. This determined man has pledged: "I'll continue to ... seek justice for victims of rights abuses, and promote the rule of law in China." And my message to President Hu Jintao, when I last met him, was this: So long as there are those who want to fight for their liberty, the United States stands with them.
Whenever and wherever I meet leaders, I'm going to constantly remind them that they ought to welcome religion in their society, not fear it. I'll remind them someone pledged to love a neighbor like they'd like to be loved themselves is someone who will add to their society in constructive and peaceful ways.
I'm met by men and women who are working for religious freedom around the globe, people like Li. And when I do I'm always impressed by their courage. I've attended worship services from Hanoi to Beijing. And when I speak to world leaders, I remind them -- leaders in those countries, that the worship services are a necessary part of developing a society for which they can be proud.
And so as we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the International Religious Freedom Act, we pray that all those who seek their God will be able to do so free of oppression and fear.
I want to thank you all for your good work, and I ask for the good Lord to continue to bless our country. Thank you for your time. (Applause.)