The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Washington (AFP) – President Barack Obama Thursday said global religious freedom was vital to U.S. national security, and named China, and Myanmar among nations that should show more tolerance.

“History shows that nations that uphold the rights of their people, including the freedom of religion are ultimately more just and more peaceful and more successful,” Obama said at an annual National Prayer Breakfast.

“Nations that do not uphold these rights sow the bitter seeds of instability and violence and extremism.

“So freedom of religion matters to our national security.”

Obama noted that there were times when he was forced to work with governments that did not meet U.S. standards on rights, but that had agreed to cooperate on core national security interests.

But he said it was in U.S. interests to stand up for universal rights, although it was not always comfortable.

“We do a lot of business with the Chinese… but I stress that realizing China’s potential rests on upholding universal rights, including for Christians and Tibetan Buddhists and Uighur Muslims.”

Obama said that when he meets Myanmar President Thein Sein, who he is supporting in an effort to bring the nation also known as Burma out of isolation, he states the case for Christian and Muslim minorities.

He also called for freedom of worship in Nigeria, in South Sudan and Sudan, and said access to holy sites must be a component of the Israeli-Palestinian peace deal that his secretary of state John Kerry is chasing.

Obama also said that any deal to end Syria’s vicious civil war must stipulate freedom of religion for Alawites and Sunnis, Shias and Christians.

Obama also called for the release of missionaries imprisoned while proselytizing their faith, including U.S. pastor Kenneth Bae in North Korea and Iranian American pastor Saeed Abedini in Iran.

The president also hit out at what he described as extremists who stoke the fires of division to further political ends, noting particularly factions in the Central Africa Republic.

“To harm anyone in the name of faith is to diminish our own relationship with God,” Obama said.

“The killing of the innocent is never fulfilling God’s will. In fact, it’s the ultimate betrayal of God’s will.”

The National Prayer Breakfast is an annual event bringing together lawmakers, officials and decision makers from across party lines.

AFP Photo/Brendan Smialowski

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

J.D. Vance

The Ohio GOP Senate primary was billed as the top contest to watch ahead of the 2022 midterms, one in which the Republicans are expected to perform well. The primary was set to be an insight into what flavor of Republican looked primed to lead the party in the absence of Donald Trump on the ticket.

The race was wide open, and it came down to the wire, with three candidates receiving more than 20 percent of the vote. But in the end, Trump-endorsed J.D. Vance took the nomination with 32 percent of the vote.

Keep reading... Show less

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Youtube Screenshot

A state court judge blocked Florida's new Republican-drawn congressional map from taking effect on Wednesday, ruling that it violates the state constitution because it "diminishes African Americans' ability to elect candidates of their choice." Circuit Judge Layne Smith, who was appointed to his current post by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, further ordered that the state implement a remedial map that restores the Fifth District in northern Florida to its previous Jacksonville-to-Tallahassee configuration and makes commensurate changes to neighboring districts.

At issue is a set of amendments reforming the redistricting process that voters approved in 2010, often known as the "Fair Districts" amendments. These amendments prohibit, among other things, the "retrogression" of minority voting rights in both congressional and legislative redistricting. As ACLU attorney Nicholas Warren explained, "This means no backsliding in minority voters' ability to elect candidates of choice"—which in the case of the Fifth District would mean a Black Democrat.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}