Why Religious Freedom is Special

Why Religious Freedom is Special
AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
A report from the Commission on Unalienable Human Rights at the State Department has sparked considerable controversy. Critics objected that the report said the Founders had considered religious freedom one of the foremost rights. However, the Founders did believe that. They also wrote that God, not government, is the source of our rights. As the Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights.”

These beliefs are not unique to Americans. Religions around the world are the foundation for human rights and critical to their flourishing. Religious freedom is indeed the foremost right for people around the world because it protects what makes us human. To understand why religious freedom is widely cherished around the world, consider a Christian pastor in China, a Jewish woman in Germany, and a Muslim blogger in Saudi Arabia.

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