Written by Don Byrd

Via Religion Clause, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing earlier this week entitled,  “The U.S. Government’s Role in Protecting International Religious Freedom.”

In her testimony, Kristina Arriaga of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, painted a sobering picture of the declining state of religious liberty around the world. Here is an excerpt from her prepared remarks:

It saddens me to report that the state of affairs for international religious freedom appears to be worsening in the depth and breadth of violations by both governments and non-state actors. Religious minorities and dissenting members of the majority community face many abuses worldwide, including imprisonment, displacement, and genocide, and non-state actors present increasing challenges. In fact, the violations are so egregious that less egregious abuses often go unnoticed.

Arriaga urged Congress to “craft legislation that includes remedies that underscore the human rights, foreign policy and national security dimensions of religious freedom and address violations.”

Other witnesses emphasized the importance of religious understanding to the cause of American diplomacy around the world, and the “connection between the state of international religious freedom worldwide and America‚Äôs national security.”

You can watch the hearing and read the witness statements here.