The war on religious freedom is a war that is waged worldwide, and it is one that President Donald Trump is standing on the front lines of.
After the president visited Saint John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, DC. He returned to the White House and signed an executive order promoting religious freedom.
A senior official with the administration told the New York Post that the president’s order is to advocate for religious minorities overseas.
“The president was clear when he called upon ‘the nations of the world to end religious persecution,’” the official told The Post. “This executive order fully integrates the president’s vision — a vigorous defense of International Religious Freedom rights for all — into key aspects of United States foreign policy.”
“Yet again, President Trump is taking a decisive action to keep his promise to people of faith around the world,” they said.
“Religious freedom, America’s first freedom, is a moral and national security imperative. Religious freedom for all people worldwide is a foreign policy priority of the United States, and the United States will respect and vigorously promote this freedom. As stated in the 2017 National Security Strategy, our Founders understood religious freedom not as a creation of the state, but as a gift of God to every person and a right that is fundamental for the flourishing of our society,” the executive order said.
“Within 180 days of the date of this order, the Secretary of State (Secretary) shall, in consultation with the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), develop a plan to prioritize international religious freedom in the planning and implementation of United States foreign policy and in the foreign assistance programs of the Department of State and USAID,” it said.
The president visited the shrine after another night of protests, riots and looting, but Archbishop Wilton Gregory spoke against the president’s visit.
“I find it baffling and reprehensible that any Catholic facility would allow itself to be so egregiously misused and manipulated in a fashion that violates our religious principles, which call us to defend the rights of all people even those with whom we might disagree,” he said. “Saint Pope John Paul II was an ardent defender of the rights and dignity of human beings. His legacy bears vivid witness to that truth. He certainly would not condone the use of tear gas and other deterrents to silence, scatter or intimidate them of a photo opportunity in front of a place of worship and peace.”
But that is not what happened. In spite of the insistence of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, former Vice President Joe Biden and other Democrats, teargas was not used.
“At approximately 6:33 pm, violent protestors on H Street NW began throwing projectiles including bricks, frozen water bottles and caustic liquids. The protestors also climbed onto a historic building at the north end of Lafayette Park that was destroyed by arson days prior. Intelligence had revealed calls for violence against the police, and officers found caches of glass bottles, baseball bats and metal poles hidden along the street,” U.S. Park Police said.
“As many of the protestors became more combative, continued to throw projectiles, and attempted to grab officers’ weapons, officers then employed the use of smoke canisters and pepper balls. No tear gas was used by USPP officers or other assisting law enforcement partners to close the area at Lafayette Park,” it said.