The Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the
Before the most receptive audience imaginable — a National Prayer Breakfast — Obama recently insisted that "promoting religious freedom is a key objective of U.S. foreign policy." And he reiterated U.S. opposition to laws and international resolutions that oppose "blasphemy" and "defamation of religion," noting correctly that they "all too often can be used to suppress religious minorities."
Some Americans are uncomfortable with the emphasis the U.S. government places on religious liberty abroad, seeing it as the result of lobbying by Christian groups that are intent on proselytizing in Muslim and other countries. But the importance that
But in promoting religious freedom abroad, the United States needs to recognize two realities. The first is that this country's commitment to religious freedom — and to other core values such as democratization, free speech and equality for women — sometimes will be trumped by other interests. Obama acknowledged as much when he said that "we work with governments that don't always meet our highest standards, but they're working with us on core interests such as the security of the American people."
Second, even when the country is an ally, for geopolitical or other reasons, the United States shouldn't be silent when it sees religious rights being violated. In his speech, Obama appropriately called on North Korea and Iran to release imprisoned Christian evangelists and referred to the plight of religious minorities in Egypt, Pakistan, China and Syria. But he didn't mention Saudi Arabia, where, according to the