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Lankford Issues Statement in Support of Executive Order to Advance International Religious Freedom

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) issued a statement of support following President Donald J. Trump signing an Executive Order to advance International Religious Freedom:

“Many people across the world are still persecuted for daring to exercise what we as Americans know is a fundamental human right of all people—the right to choose, practice, or change their faith. Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Fallin, Dafa, Bahá’í, Ughur, Yezidi, Hindu, Cao Dai, and secularists around the world are among those who have been persecuted for their faith. Nations such as China, Iran, North Korea, Eritrea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan have been identified by the State Department as countries that engage in severe violations of religious freedom. The Administration has promoted our nation’s value for religious freedom and it has resulted in success for people around the world, like the release of Pastor Andrew Brunson who was unjustly held in Turkey for years. Today’s Executive Order continues to advocate for America’s engagement in an even more meaningful way through training for all foreign service personnel, the use of tools like visa restrictions or sanctions and ensuring religious freedom is an integral part of our national security strategy. We must continue to work to protect the universal right of religious freedom, the right to choose any faith, change your faith, or have no faith at all.”

Lankford introduced a resolution last year to call for the global repeal of blasphemy, heresy, and apostasy laws, which affect Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Bahá’í, secularist, and many other groups. He also joined with Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) to establish the Senate Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Anti-Semitism. In 2018, Lankford joined a bipartisan group of Senators to condemn the Chinese Communist Party’s persecution of religious minorities and actions to limit the free expression and practice of faith in the People’s Republic of China. In 2015, Lankford successfully secured a Trade Promotion Authority amendment that promotes international religious freedom in our trade negotiations with nations like China.