House Resolution 512 Pushes U.S. to Defend International Religious Freedom

Last week, the United States Congress was introduced to a bi-partisan resolution condemning international apostasy and blasphemy laws and supporting international religious freedom. The House Resolution 512 (HR 512) encourages the State Department and the President of the United States to protect international religious freedom.

HR 512 and Religious Freedom

FMI works with Christians who live under blasphemy laws in the three largest Muslim-dominate nations of the world: Pakistan, Indonesia, and Bangladesh.

FMI’s Bruce Allen defines apostasy as the “conversion experience of a person from one faith to another faith” and defines blasphemy as “speaking against what a particular group would say is sacred”.

According to Allen, if implemented, HR 512 is a way for the U.S. to essentially say, “we will look at your laws that you have on your books and on your penal codes as a compass that will help serve how we deal with you”.

Ironically, while the U.S. does not have apostasy or blasphemy laws on the federal level, these laws can be found on a state level. However, HR 512 does not focus on domestic religious freedom laws.

Still, the resolution could allow the U.S. to designate countries with these national laws as countries of particular concern (CPC). This could then influence how the U.S. shapes policies with regards to the CPC list.

Chairperson Tony Perkins of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has applauded this resolution. The USCIRF, an arm of the U.S. State Department, provides an annual report suggesting nations for CPC designation.

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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Beth Stolicker