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A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have! - Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

U.S. Should Champion Religious Liberty as Essential Human Right Says Bob Barr

“Much in this great nation of ours is moving in the wrong direction, but America remains a beacon of liberty around the world, a city on the hill that provides hope and inspiration to oppressed peoples everywhere,” says Bob Barr, the Libertarian Party candidate for president. “While America cannot impose its freedom ideals by force, it can promote them by living up to its rhetoric and using its influence on behalf of human liberty.”

Of course, capitalism and democracy are essential freedoms. “But the first freedom, the most basic right of conscience, is religious liberty, the ability to worship God as one believes appropriate,” explains Barr. The American purpose is not to spread any particular faith, even Christianity. “But the U.S. should insist that protecting this most basic right is essential for any society which purports to be free and to represent its people.”

Tragically, “while Americans take religious liberty for granted, in many countries people are not free to worship freely,” notes Barr. He points to Iraq, “where the historic Christian community has been devastated by radical Islamic attacks, despite America’s military occupation. In Egypt, members of the ancient Coptic Christian Church are under constant attack by the government as well as violent Islamic extremists.” Christians also are persecuted in states ranging from Algeria to China to Saudi Arabia.

“But it is not only Christians who suffer,” observes Barr. Jews, Bahais, Hindus, and even Moslems are vulnerable to persecution in some countries. “America cannot stop such discrimination. But American leaders can speak out, holding up to the contempt of the world states that persecute. And where the U.S. has influence, as in Iraq, Egypt, and elsewhere, it should press for respect for this essential human right.”

“We have much to be thankful for, despite problems that sometimes seem overwhelming,” says Barr. “To whom much is given, much is expected. We should help share our good fortune by speaking out for liberty around the world, including religious freedom.”

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