President Trump proclaimed today "Religious Freedom Day" and took three actions to protect religious liberty.
In his proclamation of Religious Freedom Day, he recognized the importance of America's "first freedom" and described what his administration has done to protect that important First Amendment right:
Since I took office, my Administration has been committed to protecting religious liberty. In May 2017, I signed an Executive Order to advance religious freedom for individuals and institutions, and I stopped the Johnson Amendment from interfering with pastors’ right to speak their minds. Over the last 3 years, the Department of Justice has obtained 14 convictions in cases involving attacks or threats against places of worship. To fight the rise of anti-Semitism in our country, I signed an Executive Order last month to ensure that Federal agencies are using nondiscrimination authorities to combat this venomous bigotry. I have also made clear that my Administration will not tolerate the violation of any American’s ability to worship freely and openly and to live as his or her faith commands.
My Administration also remains cognizant of the stark realities for people seeking religious liberty abroad and has made protecting religious minorities a core pillar of my Administration’s foreign policy. Repressive governments persecute religious worshipers using high-tech surveillance, mass detention, and torture, while terrorist organizations carry out barbaric violence against innocent victims on account of their religion. To cast a light on these abuses, in July 2019, I welcomed survivors of religious persecution from 16 countries into the Oval Office. These survivors included Christians, Jews, and Muslims, who all shared similar stories of persecution. At the United Nations in September, I called on global leaders to take concrete steps to prevent state and non‑state actors from attacking citizens for their beliefs and to help ensure the sanctity and safety of places of worship. And, last summer, the State Department convened its second Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, where our diplomats engaged a broad range of stakeholders in government and civil society, both religious and secular, to identify concrete ways to combat religious persecution and discrimination around the world and ensure greater respect for freedom of religion and belief.
On this Religious Freedom Day, we reaffirm our commitment to protecting the precious and fundamental right of religious freedom, both at home and abroad. Our Founders entrusted the American people with a responsibility to protect religious liberty so that our Nation may stand as a bright beacon for the rest of the world. Today, we remain committed to that sacred endeavor and strive to support those around the world who still struggle under oppressive regimes that impose restrictions on freedom of religion.
And today at the White House, President Trump announced new federal protections for religious liberty, particularly protecting students' constitutional right to pray in public schools and requiring religious organizations to be treated equally with secular organizations.
Thank you, President Trump, for doing what has inconceivably become politically incorrect: respecting the First Amendment and standing up for the right of people both in America and abroad to worship and believe according to their conscience.