Ten well-known American Christian leaders released a public letter thanking President Barack Obama for lifting up the cause of international religious liberty at the National Prayer Breakfast and asking him to preserve First Amendment freedoms in the United States. Signatories include Leith Anderson, Russell Moore, Joel Hunter and Samuel Rodriguez, among others.
February 26, 2014
President Barack Obama 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW Washington, D.C. 20006
Dear Mr. President,
As religious leaders we write to express our appreciation to you for lifting up the issue of international religious liberty in your recent address at the National Prayer Breakfast. We stand in solidarity with you in advancing this cause.
We applaud your words in support of Pastor Saeed Abedini and Kenneth Bae. We join you in calling for robust recognition of religious liberty by all in Syria, Sudan, Egypt, Burma, Pakistan, Nigeria, China, Iran, North Korea, the Holy Land, and everywhere where believers are threatened.
Untold numbers of believers today are imprisoned, tortured, and killed for practicing their faith. Religions are under threat globally in the face of mounting prejudice, majoritarian discrimination, sectarian violence, and governmental action and inaction. We join with you in your prayer for every prisoner of conscience and for the millions around the globe who are oppressed for reasons of faith.
We applaud your pledge to name a new Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom in the very near future. We urge you to appoint a proven leader with the stature to engage world leaders and to give this person your full support as he or she represents and promotes our government’s commitment to religious freedom.
America has been a beacon and defender of religious liberty. Religious liberty and freedom of conscience were universally acclaimed by America’s Founders and Framers to be foundational for all further human rights and liberties. It is worthy and inspiring that you have called upon all Americans to stand up for the free exercise of religion at this critical hour.
As you promote religious freedom abroad, please also give attention to preserving the First Amendment freedoms of all Americans here at home. Some Americans are concerned that your administration’s domestic policies do not fully protect the religious convictions of all our citizens. Your leadership abroad will be strongest as you point to the robust religious freedom protection that is provided even to those who may be critics of your administration.
We join in asking God “that His wisdom will give us the capacity to do right and to seek justice, and defend the oppressed wherever they may dwell.” As always, Mr. President, we pray also for you, for your family, and for the nation we all love.
President, National Association of Evangelicals
Cardinal Donald Wuerl Archbishop of Washington
Russell D. Moore
President, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention
Joel C. Hunter,
Senior Pastor, Northland, A Church Distributed
President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
Director of Legislative Affairs, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
President & CEO, Advocates International
John K. Jenkins, Sr.
Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church of Glenarden
William “Bill” P. Robinson
Interim President, Council for Christian Colleges and Universities
Stephen F. Schneck
Director of the Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies, The Catholic University of America