U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has formally dismantled the Commission on Unalienable Rights, a blueprint developed by the Trump administration to promote religious freedom.
The Commission on Unalienable Rights is no longer in effect after Biden's Secretary of State Antony Blinken dismissed the Trump-era blueprint that aimed to ramp up the promotion of religious freedom internationally.
During his confirmation hearings, Blinken sought to promote LGBT rights globally. But in a press conference presenting the 45th State Department country reports on human rights practices, he only briefly mentioned religious persecution.
These annual human rights reports encompass individual, civil, political and worker rights which are internationally recognized and defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as other international agreements between 200 countries and territories.
According to NBC News, Biden's Secretary of State referred to former State Secretary Mike Pompeo's Commission on Unalienable Rights and dismissed the Trump-era blueprint meant to promote religious freedom globally. The commission was formed in 2019 and was composed of several experts who believed that religious freedom and the right to property were imperative human rights.
Blinked argued that one of the "core principles" of human rights is that they are "universal" and that every person is entitled to these rights regardless of sex, gender, origin, race, or "any other characteristic." He declared, "Human rights are also co-equal; there is no hierarchy that makes some rights more important than others."
"Past unbalanced statements that suggest such a hierarchy, including those offered by a recently disbanded State Department advisory committee, do not represent a guiding document for this administration," Blinken affirmed. Biden's Secretary of State also recounted how during his confirmation hearing, he made a promise that the Biden-Harris administration would in fact "repudiate those unbalanced views," which they did so "decisively" in the end of March.
As per the Christian Post, the vice president of Center for Religious Liberty at the Family Research Council, Travis Weber spoke out against Blinken's decision to end the Trump-era commission, calling it an "unfortunate development." Weber believes that this move "[downgrades] the role of religious freedom in foreign policy and domestically."
Weber insisted, "Certain human rights are more important than others and religious freedom is one of them." He pointed out how Christians and Muslim minorities are being persecuted in China and how Christian persecution has become rampant in Muslim-majority countries. Weber believes that saying all rights are equal diminishes the importance of religious persecution.
International Christian Concern director Matias Perttula also expressed concern with Blinken's condemnation of the Trump-era commission meant to promote religious freedom. Perttula said they are "concerned" as to whether the Biden administration is still "committed to putting religious freedom as a central principle in the United States' foreign policy priorities."
Biden's Secretary of State reiterated their commitment to expand women's reproductive health rights, which was added back to the report after the Trump administration removed it and which conservatives believe is a code for abortion access, another point that Christian leaders are vehemently opposed to.