President seeks to protect religious freedom

President seeks to protect religious freedom

President Donald Trump pledged $25 million in U.S. funding to protect religious sites and relics and announced a coalition of U.S. businesses to protect religious freedom in the workplace during the Global Call to Protect Religious Freedom, a meeting held Sept. 23 at the United Nations (U.N.) headquarters in New York.

Trump became the first U.S. president to convene a meeting at the U.N. focusing on religious freedom. 

“This initiative will encourage the private sector to protect people of all faiths in the workplace,” Trump said. “Too often people in positions of power preach diversity while silencing, shunning or censoring the faithful. True tolerance means respecting the right of all people to express their deeply held religious beliefs,” Trump said, citing statistics that 83% of the world’s population lives in countries with religious persecution.

Ronnie Floyd, president and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, applauded the event attended by more than 100 governmental leaders and members of persecuted faith communities globally, including Christians, Jewish leaders and Muslims.

‘It is time’

“This is especially important in the wake of increasing persecution of people on the basis of their beliefs and the growing number of attacks on and destruction of houses of worship,” Floyd said. “It is time to bring an end to religious persecution and do all we can to see crimes cease against people of faith.”

Trump proclaimed religious liberty one of his highest priorities as president.

“Today with one clear voice the United States of America calls upon the nations of the world to end religious persecution,” Trump said. “To stop the crimes against people of faith, release prisoners of conscience, repeal laws restricting freedom of religion and belief, protect the vulnerable, the defenseless, and the oppressed, America stands with believers in every country who ask only for the freedom to live according to the faith that is within their own hearts.”

The new business group for workplace religious freedom would be the first of its kind, Trump said. 

He didn’t name members of the group but said it would include some of the “most successful men and women on earth” whom he described as “great business leaders, great people of strength.” (BP)