Former President Donald Trump's Ambassador For Religious Freedom is reported to be "hopeful" and "encouraged" over President Joe Biden Administration's statements on the matter.
The Christian Post (CP) said Sam Brownback, Trump's former Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom for three years, appreciated the statements of U.S. Department of State Secretary Antony Blinken that religious freedom is a "co-equal right." Brownback was actually reacting to the annual report released by the State Department this week.
Brownback was former governor of Kansas before he became Trump's ambassador. Brownback also worked with Biden before when he was still a senator and, during that time, was supportive of religious freedom.
"When (President Joe Biden) was Senator Biden and I was working with him in the Senate, Joe was good on religious freedom issues and worked and supported them. So, I know personally that's his viewpoint. My hope is the administration aggressively steps up. I thought the report Secretary Blinken put out today was strong. I thought his statements were strong in support of religious freedom. So, I'm hopeful myself. I'm hopeful," Brownback told CP in an interview.
Brownback also pointed out that Biden has continued the sanctions Trump implemented against China such as what happened on Wednesday where the Chinese Communist Party was sanctioned for the mistreatment of religious minorities. U.S. State Department called it a "blatant disregard for religious freedom."
The U.S. State Department also gave importance to religious freedom on Wednesday, through its International Religious Freedom Office Director Daniel Nadel who called it a "universal human right."
Blinken and Nadel called on Burma, Nigeria, Russia, and Saudi Arabia in addition to China for their abuses on religious freedom. Blinken stressed the United States' commitment to defending religious freedom and focused on the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment that enshrines the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
"Religious freedom is a human right. In fact, it goes to the heart of what it means to be human, to think freely, to follow our conscience, to change our beliefs as our hearts and minds lead us to do so, to express those beliefs in public and in private," Blinken said.
"Religious freedom is co-equal with other human rights because human rights are indivisible. Religious freedom is not more or less important than the freedom to speak, assemble, participate in the political life in one's country, to live free of torture or slavery or any other human right," he stressed. "Indeed, they're all interdependent. Religious freedom can't be fully realized unless other human rights are respected."
According to the US Department of State website, the report was submitted to the International Religious Freedom in "compliance" with the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998. The report is said to describe describes the "status of religious freedom, government policies violating religious belief and practices of groups, religious denominations and individuals, and U.S. policies promoting religious freedom in nearly every country and territory throughout the world."
The latest report to Congress, "2020 Report On International Religious Freedom," covers the period January 1 to December 31 of the "previous calendar year."
The report reinforces the "Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief," among others, and resolves to "adopt all necessary measures for the speedy elimination of such tolerance in all its forms and manifestations and to prevent and combat discrimination on the ground of religion or belief."