President Trump has the chance to make history in one of the most memorable ways today and tomorrow at, of all places, the United Nations by making the case for religious freedom worldwide, but specifically for calling for a Western Hemisphere Religious Bill of Rights.
The President is sponsoring an event today (Monday morning) at the UN Headquarters in New York entitled a Global Call To Protect Religious Freedom. The goal is to highlight increasing religious persecution around the world and claim the high moral ground for all civilized countries to commit to liberty for all religious adherents. This is something that has not been done by previous U.S. presidents and in breaking this mold, he is doing a marvelous thing.
The religious liberty event is at the same time as another in the endless line of politicized climate change panels that are unceasing. The media will hyperventilate and bring out children to teach us all about having only 18 months before some climate changes are irreversible. But it will all be meaningless gibberish because there is zero consensus on action, because, in truth, the evidence of both severity and cause are just not strong enough.
Not so with religious liberty. The evidence is overwhelming. Here are some stats from the 2019 Open Doors USA report, which tracks Christian persecution — the most persecuted religion in the world.
In the top 50 World Watch List of countries persecuting Christians the most, nearly a quarter billion Christians experience high levels of persecution for their faith; 1 in 9 Christians worldwide experience high levels of persecution; 14% more Christians experience high levels of persecution than did in 2018; 4,136 Christians were killed for being Christians; 1,266 churches or Christian buildings were attacked; In 7 out of the top 9 countries in the World Watch List, the primary cause of persecution is Islamic oppression (the other is North Korea); 11 countries now score as “extreme” for their level of persecution of Christians, compared to only North Korea five years ago.
This is a true crisis. The world’s Jewish population is experiencing it also.
According to the World Jewish Congress: “…the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA)’s December 2018 second comprehensive report on discrimination and hate crimes against Jews in the EU, found that an overwhelming majority… — 89 percent — feel that antisemitism is getting worse…The 2018 report also found that 79% of those who experienced antisemitic harassment in the five years prior to the survey did not report the most serious incident to police, indicating an even darker reality than the official national crime numbers. More than one-third of all respondents said they had considered emigrating in the five years preceding the survey because they did not feel safe as Jews in the country where they live.”
The United States has a long history of being the global leader in freedoms in general, but specifically in religious freedom — critical, as that has been the lever of most of the world’s atrocities. America is a known refuge for the religiously persecuted and sought to export the concept for many years. But we abdicated that role to the deification of “multiculturalism” where the left paralyzed American leaders’ ability to say our way was better.
Yet our way of religious freedom for all, enshrined in the 1st Amendment, is undeniably superior to any that do not have such protections. People like former President Obama and today’s Democrats are largely incapable of saying even that.
But Trump is fearless on such matters and will thumb his nose at the self-appointed elites in the U.S. and Europe for whom religion is just a pile of myths leveraged to violently oppress. Living in the 13th century apparently, they see white Christians as the primary religious threat.
Here’s where the political incorrectness must come out, and it is backed by daily news accounts and Open Doors USA’ data: The giant source of religious intolerance and persecution today comes from Muslim dominated countries. In the past 50 years, Christians have been eliminated via forced conversion, displacement and massacre in large swaths of the Middle East. The region is becoming almost 100 percent Muslim, when it was the birthplace of Christianity. This is true in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Lebanon, Egypt, Libya and elsewhere.
And it is the rub at the United Nations, because part of the worthlessness of that body is that almost every scoundrel nation out there is a member. There are 47 Muslim majority countries that are part of the U.N., including those who are the worst persecutors of Christians. They are not all scoundrels, but that weight, along with Europe’s growing return to anti-Semitism, is one of many reasons for the rank anti-Semitism evident in the endless denouncements of Israel, but never of Palestinian terrorists.
Not only do none of those countries have a 1st Amendment, they do not even acknowledge such a concept as good. A resolution would have a hard time at the U.N. But that doesn’t matter because it would be as meaningless as most resolutions at the U.N. Those only have value when powerful and influential countries sign on and agree to enforce them — such as economic sanctions against places like North Korea and Iran.
But by laying the foundation for religious freedom, Trump can not only claim the high moral ground, but can also begin an entirely new effort that encompasses the Western Hemisphere — North and South America. This would be a sort of Western Hemisphere Bill of Religious Rights. Countries that sign on, enact and enforce religious freedom laws could get more favorable relationships with the rest of the Hemisphere, most notably the United States.
This is actually doable in this Hemisphere because there is not much religious persecution at this moment in North or South America, and most of the nations are Catholic, Protestant or maybe secular in the case of Canada. The persecution that does exist, is not by adherents of a different religion, but by militant political leftists operating in countries without a 1st Amendment (again, see Canada.)
Let leftists, including those in the United States, oppose a Bill of Religious Freedoms, a majority of which will encompass “brown” people.
This may be more than Trump is going for this week. According to the White House statement:
“The President is working to broaden international support for ongoing efforts to protect religious freedom in the wake of increasing persecution of people on the basis of their beliefs and a growing number of attacks on and destruction of houses of worship by state and non-state actors. The President will call on the international community to take concrete steps to prevent attacks against people on the basis of their religion or beliefs and to ensure the sanctity of houses of worship and all public spaces for all faiths.”
Religious intolerance always ends in terrible places. Using the United States as a model, President Trump could try something totally unique in world history.
Rod Thomson is an author, past Salem radio host, ABC TV commentator, former journalist and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act.