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Kerry: Naming Religious Freedom Violators Isn’t ‘to Make Us Feel Somehow That We’ve Spoken the Truth’

"The Abrahamic faiths, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, have to find new meaning in the old notion of our shared descent," he says while lecturing about Pilgrims.

by
Bridget Johnson

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July 28, 2014 - 5:31 pm
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WASHINGTON — The State Department’s annual report on religious freedom worldwide found that in 2013 “the world witnessed the largest displacement of religious communities in recent memory” as extremists forced communities out of their traditional homes and “governments from all regions subjected members of religious groups to repressive policies, discriminatory laws, disenfranchisement, and discriminatory application of laws.”

“In Syria, as in much of the Middle East, the Christian presence is becoming a shadow of its former self,” the report said. “Anti-Muslim violence in Meikhtila, Burma, led to up to 100 deaths and an estimated 12,000 displaced residents from the area in early 2013… All around the world, individuals were subjected to discrimination, violence and abuse, perpetrated and sanctioned violence for simply exercising their faith, identifying with a certain religion, or choosing not to believe in a higher deity at all.”

The report notes that in Tajikistan Muslim women can’t attend mosques and in Eritrea members of non-sanctioned religious groups are being held behind bars and are unable to claim conscientious objector status against compulsory military service.

“Rising anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim sentiment in parts of Europe demonstrated that intolerance is not limited to countries in active conflict. The European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) survey of perceptions of anti-Semitism among Jews in eight member states (Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Sweden and United Kingdom), released in November, found that in some countries as many as 48 percent of the local Jewish population had considered emigrating because of anti-Semitism,” continued the report.

“Religious minority communities were disproportionately affected by violence, discrimination and harassment. In many regions of the world, religious intolerance was linked to civil and economic strife and resulted in mass migration of members of religious minority communities throughout the year. In some of these areas, the outward migration of certain communities has the potential to permanently change the demographics of entire regions.”

At a press conference to release the report, Secretary of State John Kerry called the annual publication “a demonstration of the abiding commitment of the American people and the entire U.S. government to the advancement of freedom of religion worldwide.”

“It’s been at the center of our very identity since the Pilgrims fled religious persecution and landed in my home state of Massachusetts,” he added, proceeding to go into detail about accused witches being burned at the Salem trials.

“I am making certain and I will continue to that religious freedom remains an integral part of our global diplomatic engagement. The release of this report is an important part of those efforts,” Kerry said, adding that “when necessary, yes, it does directly shine a light in a way that makes some countries, even some of our friends, uncomfortable. But it does so in order to try to make progress.”

Turkmenistan was newly added to the State Department’s list of countries of particular concern, due to “reports that people in Turkmenistan are detained, beaten, and tortured because of their religious beliefs.”

“The government of Turkmenistan has passed religious laws that prohibit people from wearing religious attire in public places. Or they’d impose fines for distributing religious literature. And the authorities continue to arrest and imprison Jehovah’s witnesses who are conscientious objectors to military service,” Kerry said.

“I want to emphasize this effort isn’t about naming countries to lists in order to make us feel somehow that we’ve spoken the truth… That’s why we’re committed to working with governments as partners to help them ensure full respect for the human rights of all of their citizens. And when 75 percent of the world’s population still lives in countries that don’t respect religious freedoms, let me tell you, we have a long journey ahead of us.”

Kerry singled out North Korea for “its absolute and brutal repression of religious activity,” but didn’t mention Christian missionary and American prisoner Kenneth Bae.

He did mention “U.S.-Iranian citizen pastor Saeed Abedini,” held “simply because of his religious beliefs.”

“We will continue to call for his release, and we will continue to work for it,” Kerry said of the Idaho Christian who’s been held by Tehran since 2012.

The secretary called out Russia for “a succession of evermore punitive laws against what they call extremism to justify crude measures against people of faith,” persecution of Christians, Tibetan Buddhists and Uighur Muslims by China, and displacement of Rohingya Muslims in Burma.

“Around the world, repressive governments and extremist groups have been crystal clear about what they stand against. So we have to be equally clear about what we must stand for. We stand for greater freedom, greater tolerance, greater respect for rights of freedom of expression and freedom of conscience,” Kerry said.

“With this report, I emphasize, we are not arrogantly telling people what to believe. We’re not telling people how they have to live every day. We’re asking for the universal value of tolerance of the ability of people to have a respect for their own individuality and their own choices,” he continued. “We are asserting a universal principle for tolerance. The Abrahamic faiths, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, have to find new meaning in the old notion of our shared descent. What really is our common inheritance? What does it mean to be brothers and sisters and to express our beliefs in mutual tolerance and understanding? Answering those questions is our mission today.”

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Top Rated Comments   
“Rising anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim sentiment in parts of Europe demonstrated that intolerance is not limited to countries in active conflict."

Ah, that good ol' moral equivalency.

When was the last time a Christian strapped a bomb to himself and got aboard a bus full of muslims to kill them all?

When was the last time a bunch of Jews waged a holy war against an entire planet?

When was the last time Jews or Christians hijacked several jet airliners to cause mass destruction and murder in order to change the mindset of an entire planet?

Having trouble remembering when?

The entire cult of islam is a filthy, reprobate-infested degenerative, primal but organized entity that is poisoning our world; The world that belongs to everyone.

When I was a kid and watched movies about megalomaniacs who wanted to take over the world, I used to laugh and chuckle how impossible that would be. But sure enough, mad dogs of (somehow) human ancestry are (literally) dead-set to try it.

20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
"I want to emphasize this effort isn’t about naming countries to lists in order to make us feel somehow that we’ve spoken the truth"

Here is the contradiction at the heart of postmodern relativism. If it's impossible to say what (if anything) is true, then it's impossible to say even that intolerance or violence are bad. Of course nobody is relativistic on those matters that they really care about, which shows that relativism really is just a load of BS from people who aren't honest enough to put their cards on the table.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Is this guy an imbecile or what? There is religious oppression right here in the USA, when religious peoples' values are trampled by the travesty of Homosexual marriage, infanticide or abortion, and laws deemed unconstitutional which force businesses to pay for abortifacients. Public Schools routinely punish Christian children for their beliefs, and the culture treats Christians as dangerous fanatics.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (36)
All Comments   (36)
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Regardless of conventional wisdom and John Kerry there is serious doubt that Johnny-come-lately Islam is an "Abrahamic faith."
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
The accused witches were hanged not burned. So much for John Forbes Kerry's scholarship.

The witch trials lasted 2 years. 20 people were wrongly executed. Christian ministers were instrumental in putting an end to it. To compare a brief instant in American history to ongoing depravity elsewhere in the world is to lose all sense of proportion.

But hey, we are talking about Kerry.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
“Rising anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim sentiment in parts of Europe demonstrated that intolerance is not limited to countries in active conflict."

Ah, that good ol' moral equivalency.

When was the last time a Christian strapped a bomb to himself and got aboard a bus full of muslims to kill them all?

When was the last time a bunch of Jews waged a holy war against an entire planet?

When was the last time Jews or Christians hijacked several jet airliners to cause mass destruction and murder in order to change the mindset of an entire planet?

Having trouble remembering when?

The entire cult of islam is a filthy, reprobate-infested degenerative, primal but organized entity that is poisoning our world; The world that belongs to everyone.

When I was a kid and watched movies about megalomaniacs who wanted to take over the world, I used to laugh and chuckle how impossible that would be. But sure enough, mad dogs of (somehow) human ancestry are (literally) dead-set to try it.

20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
In 1940 there were 2.3 billion people in the world. Today there is 3 times as many. Rub up enough people against each other and it's like tinder.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
I did not believe it.

A physics teacher was telling me about an experiment with rats. They were confined to a space and given sufficient food and water. But they bred, ran out of space until they were walking over one another. Despite never going hungry, these rats fought.

I believe now.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
"in 2013 the world witnessed the largest displacement of religious communities in recent memory"

In a completely unrelated matter, the Administration has long been pressuring Israel to withdraw from the West Bank / Judea and Samaria, which would involve the forced relocation of hundreds of thousands of Jews.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Maybe John Kerry should move to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and show us how it's done?

Lead by example.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Meanwhile in SYRIA and IRAQ HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of MUSLIM and CHRISTIAN men women and children are being killed by MUSLIMS and nobody ever mentions GENOCIDE or proportionate responses or calls for URGENT ceasefires and the UN does not even know its happening at all.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
They know. They just don't care. At least until after the killing is over, at which point they will feign surprise and express moral outrage and vow "Never again."
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Lets take a closer look at the Burma incident, a country that has been in the throes of Islamist brutality for more than 15 years. A fight broke out in a jewelry store. More people came into the fight. A Buddhist monk who was passing through was killed.
The story is all the Buddhist monks in saffron colored robes, people who spend a life avoiding killing even a mosquito, began stoning and killing all the Muslims.....Sound a bit odd?
England: Muslims complain that museums in the neighborhoods they have moved into or were located there by the paid housing program portray pornography...naked bodies. They asked all art be removed and that this is harassment.
Same with walking dogs in the neighborhood. Muslims have filed complaints that people intentionally walk dogs to insult the Muslims.
Compare and contrast to entire communities slaughtered, and ordered to leave without a single belonging.
Compare to choosing between genital mutilation or your life.
For this admin to suddenly decide to talk about this...now?

For the libs, please compare these people and the grounds for refugee status to the "17 year old child" from Honduras.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Muslims whenever they are in a minority bleat for TOLERANCE however once THEY are in the MAJORITY they TOLERATE nobody.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obama is an atheist pretending to be a Christian with a Muslim affinity.

Could be, CFB. I am of the opinion Obama is a demagogue of political expediency. Whatever he and Michelle Antoinette need to be at any moment in time, they change the inflection and game face to match the adoring crowd.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Religion is a mask Obama wears, it changes to match his golf shoes as an accessory.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
If you follow what is happening in GAZA only by reading or viewing the anti semitic Lame Stream EneMedia, and pronouncements by MUSLIM apologists, MUSLIMS and deluded Western Politicians, then this is what you probably think is the casualty list . OVER 1000 totally INNOCENT Gazan CIVILIANS composed of women, children, hospital patients and fluffy little dogs (oops sorry no fluffy little dogs Mohammad was SCARED of dogs and so he declared them HARAM , FORBIDDEN) have been killed along with 50 Israeli STORMTROOPERS bent on GENOCIDE.

20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
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