President Donald Trump announced Monday that the United States will dedicate $25 million to protect religious sites and houses of worship across the world and also announced the creation of a coalition of top business leaders to help protect religious freedom in the workplace.
Trump became the first American president ever to convene a meeting at the United Nations headquarters in New York City focusing solely on religious freedom. In a speech Monday morning, the 73-year-old called for the nations of the world to do their part to “end religious persecution.”
The event was called “Global Call to Protect Religious Freedom” and was attended by Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
“As president, protecting religious freedom is one of my highest priorities and always has been,” Trump assured.
The meeting was also attended by high ranking U.S. officials, survivors of religious persecution, faith leaders, business leaders and religious freedom advocates. Trump was introduced before his speech by Pence, who declared that Monday would be a “very special day.”
“Today, giving evidence of his passion for religious liberty, the president will announce additional steps that the United States will take to protect religious liberty and defend people of faith around the world,” Pence said.
During his nearly 15-minute speech, Trump detailed a number of things his administration has done to advance religious freedom around the world, such as securing the release of imprisoned pastor Andrew Brunson from Turkey and holding two historic State Department ministerials on religious freedom.
Toward the end of his speech, Trump mentioned new initiatives that the U.S. government is undertaking to help promote religious freedom across the globe.
One of those initiatives involves a significant contribution by the U.S. government to help protect religious sites across the world.
“Today, the Trump administration will dedicate an additional $25 million to protect religious freedom and religious sites and relics,” Trump vowed, after listing attacks targeting Christian, Jewish and Muslim places of worship in the last year.
Trump did not offer specifics on the plan to dedicate the $25 million in funds.
Trump also announced a new coalition to promote international religious freedom.
“We are also pleased to be joined today by many of the partners of the business community as we announce a very critical initiative,” Trump explained. “The United States is forming a coalition of U.S. businesses for the protection of religious freedom. This is the first time this has been done.”
“This initiative will encourage the private sector to protect people of faith in the workplace and the private sector has brilliant leadership,” he added.
“That is why some of the people in this room are among the most successful men and women on Earth. They know how things get done and they know how to take care of things. They are with us now for the first time, to this extent, for the first time ever. We are really honored to have you in the room. Great business leaders and great people of strength.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith