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Speaking at United Nations, President Trump presses for global religious freedom, repeats false Johnson Amendment claim

by | Sep 24, 2019

Speaking at a United Nations event on religious freedom, President Donald Trump called on world leaders to bring an end to all forms of religious persecution, and he announced his administration would add $25 million to U.N. efforts to protect religious sites and relics.

In his remarks, the president described the dire state of religious freedom in many parts of the world and called for an end to religious persecution.

As we speak, Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, Yazidis, and many other people of faith are being jailed, sanctioned, tortured, and even murdered, often at the hands of their own government, simply for expressing their deeply held religious beliefs….

 

Today, with one clear voice, the United States of America calls upon the nations of the world to end religious persecution.

 

To stop the crimes against people of faith, release prisoners of conscience, repeal laws restricting freedom of religion and belief, protect the vulnerable, the defenseless, and the oppressed, America stands with believers in every country who ask only for the freedom to live according to the faith that is within their own hearts.

President Trump also announced the creation of a coalition of U.S. businesses dedicated to protecting religious freedom in the workplace.

BJC has been working with a coalition of religious and secular groups to support H.Res. 512, a bipartisan resolution which calls for the global repeal of blasphemy, heresy, and apostasy laws.

Oddly, the president began his speech by claiming falsely that his administration had “obliterated the Johnson Amendment.” In fact, his vow to “destroy the Johnson Amendment” (which protects congregations from politicization by barring tax-exempt entities from engaging in electoral campaigning) has thus far failed. Despite the best efforts of both the president and many in Congress, the Johnson Amendment remains intact. That is due in no small part to the incredible groundswell of grassroots support from voices of faith around the country, demanding that houses of worship remain nonpartisan spaces.

A 2018 op-ed written by BJC Executive Director Amanda Tyler and Rabbi David Saperstein celebrates the fact that the Johnson Amendment is still standing and explains its importance to the cause of religious liberty. So, why does the president continue to claim otherwise?

You can read his full remarks here.