Trump declares religious freedom ‘a moral and national security imperative’

President Donald J. Trump disembarks Marine One and walks across the South Lawn of the White House Saturday, March 28, 2020, concluding his trip to Norfolk, Virginia. (Official White House photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)

President Trump issued an executive order Tuesday declaring religious freedom “a moral and national security imperative.”

The order states religious freedom for all people worldwide is a foreign policy priority that the administration will vigorously promote.

Among the means of promoting the policy will be making foreign aid contingent on how well a potential recipient protects religious liberty.

“Our Founders understood religious freedom not as a creation of the state, but as a gift of God to every person and a right that is fundamental for the flourishing of our society,” the order notes.

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The administration plans to promote U.S. policies and programs through religious communities and organizations around the globe.

The order calls on the secretary of state to work with the United States Agency for International Development to prioritize religious liberty in the nation’s foreign policy as well as its “foreign assistance programs.”

Officials will “budget at least $50 million per fiscal year for programs that advance international religious freedom,” the order states.

Fox News reported a source in the administration said the order “fully integrates the president’s vision – a vigorous defense of international religious freedom rights for all – into key aspects of United States foreign policy.”

“Yet again, President Trump is taking a decisive action to keep his promise to people of faith around the world,” the source said.

Further, the order calls for training for executive department officials responsible for ensuring religious freedom is addressed in other countries.

“In meetings with their counterparts in foreign governments, the heads of agencies shall, when appropriate and in coordination with the secretary, raise concerns about international religious freedom and cases that involve individuals imprisoned because of their religion,” the order says.

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