Unalienable Rights and Religious Freedom

Unalienable Rights and Religious Freedom
AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File

On July 8, 2019, the US State Department announced that it is forming a commission on unalienable human rights, presumably in relation to foreign policy. This announcement has prompted a range of reactions. Some criticisms were rather severe and hardly professional, raising an important question: Do the critics think the current administration can simply do nothing of value, or did these critics' high school US government teachers not rise to their jobs, leaving their students, the current critics, seriously deficient in their knowledge of American human rights principles?

One example of such criticism that seems to either arise from ill will or else is terribly uninformed is the July 18, 2019, letter of some 50 Democratic members of the US House of Representatives written to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The letter complains, "We require clear assurances that this Commission is not merely a scheme to inject religion into government policy-making. After all, the First Amendment guarantees the separation of church and state." This merits a response.

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