Dr. Richard Land

Richard Land addresses importance of religious freedom in American foreign policy

November 28, 2011

​Religious freedom around the world is in decline. In response, Open Doors USA is working to promote the Presidential Pledge for Religious Freedom, an effort urging America’s leaders to include religious freedom as a part of foreign policy matters.

Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, commented on this pledge.

“I am pleased that Open Doors USA is requesting each of the presidential candidates to sign a pledge to maintain religious freedom for all Americans and to ‘advance international religious freedom as part of American foreign policy.’

“We need to face the fact that unless the various communities of faith in the U.S. come together with a clear message and a unified effort, the plight of millions of people around the world whose right to freely express their faith will not improve.

“The persecution of Christians and other religious adherents, as well as other human rights violations, are waxing rather than waning in the world. This situation will not improve without the active engagement of the United States.

“From a human perspective, if the people of the United States do not insist that their government make this a priority issue with the governments who do not permit their citizens to freely practice their

faith, there will be no relief for millions and millions of Christians who are suffering persecution and martyrdom around the world.

“As the pledge indicates, religious freedom should be an integral part of the foreign policy of any U.S. presidential administration. It is more than duplicitous for us as Americans to enjoy this freedom for ourselves but to not actively advocate it for all people.

“Freedom denied to anyone today could be freedom denied to everyone tomorrow.”

The Southern Baptist Convention is America’s largest non-Catholic denomination with more than 16.2 million members in over 44,000 churches nationwide. The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission is the SBC’s ethics, religious liberty and public policy agency with offices in Nashville, Tenn. and Washington, D.C.