Friday, July 31, 2009

Relgious Freedom Luncheon

Pictured left to right: Ambassador of Iraq, Samir Sumaida'ie; Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II; Ambassador of Sudan, Akec Khoc; Ambassador of Bahrain, Ms. Houda Ezra Ebrahim Nonoo; Ambassador of Uzbekistan, Abdulaziz Kamilov

Yesterday afternoon, I was very glad to Co-Chair the International Religious Freedom Caucus’s Luncheon in the Library of Congress. In the midst of a hectic week, Representative Trent Franks (AZ-02) and I were honored to have a very well attended luncheon. The lunch included many Ambassadors from nations around the world, Members of Congress, and staff who joined us to bring attention to, and to promote, the essential need for religious tolerance not only in the United States, but throughout the world.

The foundation of our democratic nation rests on the establishment of the freedom to practice one’s religion, express one’s beliefs, or abstain from involvement in religion if one so chooses. It is telling that the very first amendment drafted by our founders addressed religious freedom, emphasizing the fact that religious freedom is indeed a fundamental right. I think the worldwide interest in our work, represented by the crowd of foreign dignitaries who gathered for this luncheon, shows the eager and earnest way the world is looking to us to advocate for those rights around the globe.