Where virtue falls short, US envoy says money talks on religious freedom

Crux | 1/19/2020 | Staff
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ROME - While in the abstract it may seem the case for religious freedom and protecting vulnerable religious minorities ought to be based on virtue and morality, the U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom believes something else is bringing governments around today: Cold, hard cash.

“If you want to grow an economy and build something,” Sam Brownback told Crux, promoting religious freedom is essential.

Money - Chicken - Conflict - Bunch - Investment

“Money is a chicken, it won’t go where there’s a conflict,” he said. “You’ve just ruled yourself out of a whole bunch of investment if you’ve given in to this monochromatic view of religion, that it has to be this [way] and everybody else we punish. You’ve just really frozen yourself out of the global economy and you’re not going to grow.”

“You’re seeing a lot more governments saying this is a really bad model,” Brownback said.

Time - Brownback - US - Trade - Deal

At the same time, Brownback insisted that a recent U.S. trade deal with China does not create economic incentives cutting in the opposite direction, suggesting that despite objections to China’s religious freedom track record, the U.S. is still willing to do business with the country.

“I think what it really says is that we’ve got a multi-dimensional engagement difficulty with China, but we’re not giving up on the human rights piece of that because there’s a trade agreement,” he said.

Tools - Brownback

“We will continue to push it, and we will push it with the tools we have,” Brownback said.

Brownback spoke Jan. 16 to Crux in Rome, while in town for a conference hosted by the city’s prestigious Jesuit-run Gregorian University on the Abrahamic Faiths Initiative, an effort to promote solidarity among Jews, Christians and Muslims.

US - Senator - Governor - Kansas - Brownback

A former U.S. Senator and Governor of Kansas, Brownback was appointed to his present post by President Donald Trump in 2017.

Brownback cited Central Asia, especially Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, as one...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Crux
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