The United States Senate has passed an amendment to a trade bill which would require the Executive Branch to consider Religious Freedom when negotiating trade deals. The bill calls for new trade deals with other nations to respect the Religious Freedom of the American companies and groups, while working to promote those same freedoms worldwide by seeking to work more closely with countries which also demonstrate some level of Religious Freedom.
Senator Lankfort of Oklahoma, who proposed the amendment, stated that he believes Religious Freedom is being pushed aside in American society, and that it is the duty of the Government to ensure that all Americans are allowed to freely express their religion. After all, that is the point of the First Amendment – Freedom of Religion.
By protecting those Rights when it comes to trade, the U.S. Government will be ensuring that Americans who do business overseas will be free to continue to express those same beliefs in their business dealings without fear of repercussion from the Government, and with the backing of the U.S. Government, it is hoped that foreign parties will respect the Religious Freedoms of the Americans doing business.
Spreading the ideals of Freedom that Americans enjoy is something that has been a part of this nation from its founding. In a world where religious fundamentalism and limitations are spreading, the Freedom of Religion that American citizens still enjoys is something that many people around the world still look to. By working, through trade, to promote Freedom of Religion, the United States is sharing with the world what is possible when a business or an individual is able to operate without the hindrances of religious intolerance or laws placing restrictions based on religious beliefs. As more international businesses enjoy the freedoms to practice business as the business owners see fit, it may be possible to expand global trade, rather than hold it back with religious-based restrictions. And it is starting in the United States with the recognition that trade with American businesses should not be restricted by religion, and trade is another place that Religious Freedom is paramount.