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The Obama administration neglects a key foreign policy issue.

By Thomas F. Farr

Jul 16, 2012, Vol. 17, No. 41 • (The Weekly Standard)  The State Department recently announced that it was dropping coverage of religious freedom from its annual Human Rights Report. The declared reason: to avoid duplicating coverage available in the annual Report on International Religious Freedom.

There may be other reasons. Given the Obama administration’s consistent downgrading of religious freedom at home and in foreign policy, this move may be part of a larger re-prioritization in human rights policy in favor of the advancement of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights.

Whatever one thinks of that initiative, however, the failure to promote religious freedom abroad is likely to have significant humanitarian and strategic consequences for the United States. 

We are today in the midst of a global crisis in religious liberty. In two exhaustive studies, the Pew Research Center recently concluded that 70 percent of the world’s population lives in countries where religious freedom is severely restricted, by either governments or private actors. And the problem is getting worse. The second report, in 2011, found that between mid-2006 and mid-2009 the situation deteriorated in twice as many countries as it improved.  Continues…

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