Renewed focus on religious freedom began 20 years ago

Tuesday, November 13, 2018
 | 
Bill Bumpas (OneNewsNow.com)

Freedom of Religion buttonThis year marks the 20th anniversary of the International Religious Freedom Act passed by Congress and signed into Law by President Bill Clinton in 1998. 

One person working to get the legislation approved at the time is Dr. Richard Land, who was serving as president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. 

Land tells OneNewsNow the International Religious Freedom Act has been "very effective" and has made a "real difference."

For example, after the act became law, young foreign service officers were tasked with doing reports on religious freedom around the world, giving them a better understanding of what was taking place. Now, 20 years later, these same officers have climbed to the middle and upper ranks of the foreign service.

Land, Dr. Richard (SBC, ERLC)"They have been sensitized and educated on this issue in a way that was unimaginable before," Land says. "It's changed the culture of the State Department in that they are much more sympathetic to --- much more aware of --- religious persecution and discrimination around the world, and are more supportive of our government having polices that help to promote religious freedom around the globe."

Land predicts that understanding will only get better under the Trump administration as Sam Brownback is serving as U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom.

"Not only do we have Brownback, who I think is great," says Land, "but we have Mike Pompeo as the Secretary of State. And he's the most evangelical Secretary of State since Williams Jennings Bryan under Woodrow Wilson."

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