tv Reps. Michael Mc Caul James Mc Govern on Religious Freedom CSPAN January 31, 2023 1:42pm-2:15pm EST
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washington d.c. >> ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 2023 international religious freedom summit. welcome culture doctor katrina and ambassador sam. >> good morning, good morning, katrina. >> will join you on stage for summit 2023. delighted you are all here. we are going to have a fantastic event. i believe this will be an epic event we are going to have relationships built here and activities coming out here will literally change the world and we need to change this world where there is so much persecution and difficulty taking place, religious people
all over the world. we've got a pretty simple fee, a bumper sticker. i come from the political world and bumper stickers if you can't get your thoughts onto a bumper sticker, you can't convey it hours his religious freedom for everybody, everywhere, all the time. that is the theme. [applause] that's what we are about, that's what we do. the beauty is that this is a god-given right that unfortunately is being trampled on, limited or threatened everywhere around the world. it is a right and human human rights charter is a mighty and deep human right. it's a right that's most important to us and the human right of the soul. human right so profound and central to us that we are as humans, people will often suffer
and even die for this human right. authoritarian regimes and government fears. if people will stand strong for this mental human dignity, there's no government that will take. there we go. 80% of the people in the world identify with a faith or religion, no government can put down 80% of the people. if we don't respect each other's freedom of religion we will have clash of civilizations. we are already seeing this, civilizations crash and under the pings are religions in clash. it's a huge task.
freedom for the sole and respect for each other. we will not talk about theology on this stage because we don't agree on theology. we will talk about a common human right, freedom to do with my own soul what i see fit we want collaboration from this event. we are gathering and fighting for the abused and beaten and killed religious minorities even now are huddled secret places yearning with all their heart. worship god as they believe they should. is that too much to ask? it is not. what we are doing is a worthwhile task part of our inheritance in heaven. when we fight and save a life or free also from tierney we literally change the world. it is a noble cause and unusual an uncommon work but let's get about it. let's change the world.
welcome to earth summit 2023. [applause] >> thank you so much. it's wonderful to be here with all of you. the word hope is one not far from her lips and heart over the last few months. let me tell you a few ways in which i have been using that word. i hope we will have the resources to make this summit happen. i hope we will be able to get fantastic speakers to come and enlighten and educate our participants. we have definitely done that. i hope friends and fellow activists around the world will be able to join us and this will truly be an international religion freedom summit and that, too, has come to pass. more prospectively, i have thought that i hope the results of this wonderful gathering will be greater awareness, changes in policy, alleviation of suffering
and strengthen networks of support and compassion. optimism is a quality of hope that some of the goals will be achieved. as the summit begins i remember recalling another definition of hope. one offered by -- the czechoslovakian author and political prisoner who spent many years in jail before becoming the first democratically chosen leader of czechoslovakia and the public. he had a muscular and even heroic definition of hope. he said hope is not the conviction something will turn out well but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out. my friends, i have deep
certainty that our work to defend and advance freedom of religion, conscience and belief for everyone everywhere all the time makes profound sense. in fact it makes more sense than most any cause we could dedicate ourselves to. we are as my colleagues had fighting for the most fundamental of human rights, the right live our lives in accordance with the dictates of our own conscience. we know societies that do a good job of protecting this first freedom also protect the full range of other precious rights we cherish whether freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press and more. societies that spend religious freedom are peaceful, less likely to incubate extremism and interestingly an important, women do better in these societies. we can have certainty what we
are doing makes sense but what about the rest? can claim hope for this endeavor regardless of how things turn out. the last few days we've been talking about tragedies around the world, one that resonates with me is the massacre, intentional massacre of nine believers, dragged out of the mosque and one by one ordered to announce that faith or face death and each one stayed true to their faith and was massacred in front of the eyes of their families and friends. had we have hope of the very daunting devastating realities of repression of religious freedom in so many parts of the world? i believe, i really do believe
true hope comes from the knowledge you and i have anchored our life and work in the pursuit of something that is right and lasting and true. we are doing that work at this wonderful summit and i truly believe in that sense we can have hope the seeds we are showing the trees we are cultivating will most assuredly bear fruit in time and with that, let's get to work. thank you so much. [applause] >> warm welcome to chairman one affairs committee michael mccall and cochair of the human rights commission, congressman james mcgovern in conversation with president family research council executive director of
the institute religion and society program, doctor -- [applause] >> thanks to all of you, i wish i had a better story, but i was picking up by luggage in my bicep tour. i'm getting older. what a great conference and thank you for having the. pope francis once said religious freedom is a fundamental human right and that's why religious freedom is a cornerstone of free society especially here in the united states where it's enshrined in our constitution,
our founding fathers in congress make no law respecting or sending me religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. we often call it the first freedom not only because it's first in the bill of rights but right from which all other rights form. religious freedom is part of our national identity and why it's a critical component of u.s. foreign policy. united states must continue to be a voice for the voiceless and persecuted for their beliefs. i was proud when congress reauthorized united states commission on international religious freedom last year. this program can continue to shine a light on persecution around the world know what to think the commission for support and work tragically religious freedom remains increasingly under assault around the world. in china, the chinese communist
party conducts an all-out assault on religion. as we speak today, they are attempting to completely dismantle tibetan buddhism and dalai lama. they persecute christians who refuse to turn their backs on their face and drink government controlled churches and they are committing genocide against uighur muslims. the stories of sterilization, forced abortion, brainwashing and even murder are horrifying. that's why i was honored to lead a resolution condemning tcp genocide against the uyghurs to pass the house in 2021. i want to thank my good friend congressman jim mcgovern for his great work on human rights and we often work on these bills together. in afghanistan the situation declined rapidly since the united states withdrew grade paving the way for the telegram to take over.
afghan, many of whom only ever new freedoms of the last 20 years are now forced to live under sharia law. at the same time the telegram is hunting down christians and other non- muslims. they live in constant fear of being killed for their faith. of course it's the women in afghanistan who have suffered the most. women no longer have rights, they must remain fully covid outside of their homes. they can't go to school, they can't even go outside without the male companion. it's heartbreaking to me to see what their lives have become. women in afghanistan unfortunately are not alone and they are suffering. the brutal regime in iran continues to persecute women under the guise of religion. last year they brutally murdered massad meany, a young woman only 22 years old simply for not wearing her job correctly. i'm proud of the women who have
taken to the street to brave the protest iranian regime and demand freedom so all those listening, we stand with you. and africa open doors report january this year that nigeria accounted for nearly 90% of the total number of christians killed and kidnapped worldwide in 2022. the ortega regime in nicaragua to news to attack the catholic church. they've imprisoned priests including bishop alvarez for simply speaking out in support of religious freedom and human rights. globally anti-semitism tragically is still on the rise. last week seven people were killed and three were injured in an attack on synagogue in jerusalem. that's why improved proud to introduce the holocaust education and anti-semitism act
or he'll act. this will help improve holocaust education so future generations of americans are empowered to stand up for what is right. my father fought in that war and my children think, it's one lifetime away and our children need to learn the story. the chairman of the house foreign affairs committee, i want to assure you i will continue to keep religious freedom in the forefront of america's foreign policy. that includes doing everything we can to shine a light on abuses of religious freedom around the world and includes holding perpetrators accountable. we must send advanced policies to protect the persecuted. we must help diaspora in america and family and friends persecuted for their faith because protecting religious freedom isn't just about doing what's right, it's a matter of
national security. by resolving conflict we can help prevent terrorism at home and abroad. religious freedoms advanced will conflict receipts. in closing i like to read a quote from one of my favorite, single the second, it's inspired me when he said religious freedom in such a requirement of dignity of every person is a cornerstone of the structure of human rights and for this reason an irreplaceable factor in the good of individuals and whole of society as well as personal fulfillment of each individual so i want to thank all of you again today and let stand for religious freedom. thank you. but mark. >> good morning, everybody. i'm congressman jim mcgovern
from massachusetts and i want to thank the foundation for inviting me to say a few words in this year's international religious freedom summit is underway. i'm honored to be here with my good friend, foreign affairs committee chairman mike mccall. we may be of different parties but we find common ground and we work together especially on issues regarding human rights. and i'm happy to be here with doctor, we appreciate your commitment to these issues. the past several years i've cochaired the human rights commission in the house of representatives i hope to have that honor again in the 118 congress. in that capacity i can tell you the right to freedom to thought, conscience and religion is one of the rights with most often taken up in hearings and briefings because the right to practice religion of choice so frequently violated by governments all over the world. some examples that have come to
mind are well known, uighur and tibetan by china, muslims in india, christians in egypt, muslims in burma. he is 80s in iraq. she is number of muslims and countries, jews in france, i could go on and on and on. the list is way too long as a practicing catholic myself, i know how important and personal the right to freedom of religion is. i am very aware my right to freedom of religion is only as strong as that of my muslim or hindu or buddhist neighbor and in a diverse world, freedom of religion exists for everyone, it doesn't truly exist for anyone.
... these rights are part of who we are and they're also enshrined in the universal declaration of human rights whose drafting and adoption in 1948 were led by the united states. in addition, countries where religious freedoms are under attack are often countries where repression and instability are the norm. so the harder question may be how best to promote the rights to freedom of religion. and here's my view. first, we should lead by example. this sum is focus on international religious freedom that we cannot expect other countries to take us seriously unless we are addressing threats to religious freedom here at
home. anti-semitism is on the rise in the united states and islamophobia is widespread. i'm sure simran consists share many stories. only if we, only if we're doing all we can to combat these threats, attacks and disdain towards richmond was here at home can we expect what we say in the world stage, did impact that we want. second, i get concerned when the right to religious freedom is separated out from other human rights. the rights of religious freedom to study exists in a vacuum. it is one of a set of universal human rights that are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. it is literally not possible to exercise the right to religious freedom in isolation from other human rights. we forget that at our peril. third, we must guard against the temptation to allow claims of religious freedom to be used to
deny the rights of entire populations. religious minorities, women, the lgbtq community, or others. when we privilege one religion at the expense of others would open the door to discrimination, to imposing the beliefs of some on those who think differently. and to political leaders using their power to give the dictates of one religion the force of law. law. that kind of behavior is the very definition of the violation of the right to religious freedom. and i want to close by highlighting one deadly example of religious intolerance. yesterday, friends of comedy and muslim community told me about the cold-blooded execution of nine of their adherents last july 11. there is no question that the men were killed because of their beliefs. they were told to renounce their faith or die. and i hope that everyone attending the summit, whatever their faith tradition, will condemn this heinous act and
demand respect for the religious freedom of the muslims because anything else would go against the values and principles that we all claim to support. i think all of you for your dedication to upholding religious freedom for everyone on this planet and look forward to our discussion. thank you. [applause] >> thank you for your remarks, representative mcgovern. i wanted to pick up on some things that you race for us and explore them. like you, these issues are very personal to me. my family came to this country escape religious persecution in india. right now we're seeing amidst persecution in india on the basis of religious difference in india as in other parts of the world. but the story of when to share with you today is my uber
driving us to after landed at dulles got in the car, got in a conversation with a driver. he's from afghanistan. kane westridge is before the taliban take over. and he was telling me that he grew up five minutes from -- used to spend time with the kennedys to eat dinner there and what we know now -- the communities. a few decades ago there were 200,000 in afghanistan. now there are nine. not 9000. not 900. nine. it's on the basis of religious persecution. so this is what's on my heart today as it is with many of you with the communities you work with and serve. and part of what you race you are a part of we're thinking about is when we're looking at places like afghanistan or china or nicaragua, iran, we see how the privileging of a single religious community can come at
the expense of other communities. and we can also see how privileging religious freedom over of the human rights can lead to other kinds of oppression and violence. you raise this, representative mcgovern in your remarks and i would love to hear from you what you see as the antidote to these kinds of experiences where sing all around the world? how do we shift culture in a way that ensures that everyone in the world has the opportunity to thrive equally? >> well, that's a very, very important question, and the answer is this kind of complicated. but as i sit in my remarks, i mean, i do think that here in this country we can serve as an example by doing a better job combating religious intolerance and persecution in this country. we're not doing a good enough job, quite frankly, and to those who say that well, there's not
much we could do, i disagree with that. but i think we can be a model. the second thing is we need to be more consistent in our advocacy for not just religious freedom rights but human rights in general. i worry sometimes such in the united states we pick and choose where you want to express our outrage. and oftentimes in countries where we have strategic interest or economic interests, we tend to soft-pedal the abuses that are ongoing. we need to be more consistent. as a member of congress i believe that our government stands for anything we need to stand out loud in fourth-quarter human rights. we need to be consistent and we are not always consistent. i think you have to do a better job of being, having the backs of those who are being persecuted. and helping to uplift their cause. i cochair the tom lantos human rights commission. we have a program in the
commission called the prisoners of conscience campaign where there are many people that are arrested all over the world that are prisoners because of their religion. we try to give them voice. so i think the deal is we need to be consistent. we need to be all-inclusive, and we need to use our voices to demand that things change, that we respect everybody for what they believe in who they are. >> chairman mccaul, i'm going to go back to something you mention in your remarks. by the way, the story i heard about your arm, i know the speakers race was contentious but i heard the chairman to race was even more so. [laughing] >> but i want. >> i see that. i hate to see what happened on the other side. >> you mentioned china and that is an area where there's clear bipartisan support. in fact, i appreciate as the former chair of the u.s. commission on international religious freedom speaker pelosi, former speaker pelosi's
outspoken support for minorities, religious minorities in china. so their support there but there is a growing concern with china exporting their technology and their repressive means to other countries, even in this hemisphere. so as chairman of foreign affairs committee, what do you see going forward in a way to box china income when other bad on human rights, on religious freedom, but they are influencing many other countries around the globe. how does that factor in to your position going forward? >> right. and if i could maybe step back, the uyghur muslims, , it's realy horrific what they're doing to them. slave labor. when you talk about solar panels, batteries, most of that is being manufactured in the xinjiang province where they commit genocide. they have biometrics to follow all their people within china. you know, organ transplants with a force people, and a sedate
them and take their organs out. it's just horrific. some of the stories i hear come out of region, not to mention jim and i have been very involved with the dalai lama, tibet, and, of course, he was kicked out of china and the tibetans were as well. we know that history of catholic priests in china. but what you're referring to is called the belt and road initiative. they are in 140 countries around the world now, basically bringing their technology, their surveillance. they go into these countries. they get them into a debt trap, and they take their rare earth minerals. to bring their own workers in, and typically these countries will default on their debt. the imf bails them out and they get access to a port or a military base. a good example, tony, right now
in afghanistan, china was trying to get leases to $1 trillion of lithium rare earth minerals. and they will probably get access to bagram airbase. so as a look what happened in afghanistan, the end result of that to see china there is very unfortunate. but what i see also is the idea that we export our technology to china that allows them to build the most advanced weapons systems. and when i talk about that i'm talking about their hypersonic weapons, for instance,, the one that encircle the grove globe with precision and link with a nuclear warhead. that was built on the backbone of american technology and i think we need to stop doing this. but the oppression is real. right now we're looking at something i don't think we see since world war ii, that is a largest invasion in europe since world war ii, and now the ccp, chairman she looking at taiwan and the pacific islands.
they are they are. they want to overthrow the election in taiwan. the want to suppress the people there, and their religious freedom in that region of the world. and, of course, putin's war crimes cannot go without unnoticed here. jim and i worked very hard on the war crimes bill that we got past in a bully the national defense authorization bill which is a great step forward. but the religious persecution, i think jim mentioned the muslims. very peaceful loving muslims who are persecuted in pakistan as well. it's very sad to see that that is still happening in this world today. >> i appreciate that and i would offer a question to either of you if you would be open to it. you invoke putin, talk about china by thinkers you, representative mcgovern, who spoke to this national security, maybe you, representative
mccaul, religious freedom is also national security issue. i think if we're looking at what's happening in the world right now it is absolutely true, and also there's an economic question. i think that often placed into who are we willing to hold accountable and who are we not. i would love to hear you reflect on what mechanisms we need in place to ensure that we are standing up to all perpetrators of religious persecution, regardless of economic potential in addition to the national security question. >> do you want me -- >> on the economic side, i think it's important that we had to compete. this is a global power competition here and you have four nation, russia, china, iran and north korea. iran and north korea are giving
drones and artillery in ukraine. it gets freedom and democracy in the west. i remember reagan, one of my favorites was such a champion for human rights. what would reagan do in ukraine? he would fight for the oppressed against the oppressor. i believe. and he brought down the soviet union for what they stood for. and that's the fight again we find ourselves in today. in terms of economic freedoms, we have to be present. we have to be on the field in africa, for instance. when i talk to african ambassadors they say you're not here. the united states is not investing in africa, which will be the largest populated continent in the next decade. so i think it's a question of our american investment where we can compete with the great power struggle. this is a struggle for the global balance of power, in my judgment. and economic ties are just a support as a security ties as
well. we have certain mechanisms, exim bank, and finance operation, other things the gemini we are working on ways to move this forward. because when you lift the economic situation, like for instance, if we could do that in central america when we have migration phenomena that we see at our southwest border? i think hitting the root cause of that, because 85% are fleeing for economic reasons. some for political -- >> we believe this year to continue our decade-long commitment to congressional coverage. you can finish watching this record a program if you go to our website c-span.org. u.s. aid about to gavel back into session after a break to allow republicans to attend a weekly party caucus lunches. democrats will hold their us tomorrow. no votes scheduled in the senate today. and now live to the floor of the senate here on c-span2.
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