At Patriot Voices, we believe that advocating for religious freedom should be a key part of our country’s foreign policy. In the United States, we are fortunate to have the Constitution that guarantees freedom of speech and religion. We can’t call upon the Constitution to defend rights of those in other countries, but we instinctively know that all people deserve the same rights we enjoy.
Internationally, the bar is set with Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, ratified by 48 countries in 1948. It says, “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”
We are hopeful that the Biden Administration will continue to prioritize religious freedom and continue the annual Ministerial on Religious Freedom that the Trump administration hosted in 2018 and 2019 with over 100 Foreign delegations and over 100 civil society members attending.
Patriot Voices President, Nadine Maenza, was re-appointed to a second term by President Trump as a Commissioner on the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) through May 2022. As a bi-partisan independent government agency, they monitor religious freedom conditions abroad and make recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress. The Commissioners are appointed by the President and Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress.
Commissioners also adopt Prisoners of Conscience and advocate for their release. Pastor Andrew Brunson was released from prison in Turkey after advocacy from USCIRF Commissioners. You can read about his release here.
Learn about USCIRF here.
Learn about Nadine Maenza’s Prisoners of Conscience here.
Read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights here.