MIL-OSI USA: Kaine & Colleagues Introduce Resolution to Support International Religious Freedom

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US Senate News:

Source: United States Senator for Virginia Tim Kaine

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), Chris Coons (D-DE), James Lankford (R-OK), and Thom Tillis (R-NC) introduced a bipartisan resolution to express support for international religious freedom as a fundamental right and a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy. This introduction comes amid concern over increased attacks on religious freedom worldwide.

“The Virginia General Assembly passed a statute in 1786 that became the basis of religious freedom in America. Because of our example, many people who live in countries around the world where religious freedom is non-existent see the U.S. as a beacon of hope—a place where people of all faiths can live in the same neighborhoods, attend the same schools, and work side by side,” said Kaine, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC). “Amid the sharp rise in attacks on faith-based communities, I’m joining my colleagues to send a clear message that we must work together to protect religious freedom at home and abroad.”

“USCIRF commends the Senators’ bipartisan efforts to advance international religious freedom. We welcome this vital resolution and will continue to provide foreign policy recommendations to the President, Secretary of State, and Congress to deter religious persecution and promote freedom of religion or belief abroad. We also want to thank Congress for its continued support of USCIRF,” said United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) Chair Abraham Cooper and Vice Chair Frederick A. Davie. “Twenty-five years after the enactment of International Religious Freedom Act, religious freedom issues are more integrated than ever into U.S. foreign relations, yet state and nonstate actors around the globe continue to perpetrate or tolerate severe religious persecution. In too many countries, individuals and communities are targeted for their religious beliefs, activity, or identity, or for their religious freedom advocacy. Those individuals and communities are why IRFA was enacted. They also are why global efforts to promote freedom of religion or belief for all remain essential today and in the future.”

The resolution urges the State Department to expand its support for religious freedom around the world, including by leveraging all diplomatic and sanctions tools available to hold violators of religious freedom accountable, and encourages the Department to promote religious freedom as a central tenet of U.S. foreign policy implementation.

Kaine has been a vocal advocate for religious freedom across the Commonwealth and the nation. In January, Kaine delivered a speech on the Senate floor to commemorate National Religious Freedom Day. Last November, Kaine and Senator Mark R. Warner (D-VA) wrote a letter to the U.S. Department of Education (ED) urging the agency to combat antisemitism and Islamophobia on college and university campuses.

The legislation is supported by Freedom House and the Alliance Defending Freedom.

A one-pager on this resolution is available here.

The text of this resolution is available here.