“Religious freedom is in the American bloodstream. It’s what brought the pilgrims here from England. Our founders understood it as our first freedom. That is why they articulated it so clearly in the First Amendment. As James Madison wrote years before he was president or secretary of state, quote, “conscience is the most sacred of all property,” end of quote.
Religious freedom was vital to America’s beginning. Defending it is critical to our future.
Religious freedom is not only ours. It is a right belonging to every individual on the globe.
Where fundamental freedoms of religion, expression, press, and peaceful assembly are under attack, we find conflict, instability, and terrorism. On the other hand, governments and societies that champion these freedoms are more secure, stable, and peaceful.
As our National Security Strategy so clearly states: “Our Founders understood religious freedom not as the state’s creation, but as the gift of God to every person and a fundamental right for a flourishing society.”
Full address: https://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2018/05/282789.htm