This administration has spoken to the truth in many ways that previous administrations haven’t done. (Applause.) For example, on China’s rule-breaking and authoritarianism; for example, on why the Islamic Republic of Iran is an aggressor, not a victim; for why, in fact, we know in our hearts that America is a force for good in the world. (Applause.)
And I’m especially telling the truth about the dire condition of religious freedom around the world. America has a proud history of religious freedom, and we want jealously to guard it here. But around the world, more than 80% of mankind lives in areas where religious freedom is suppressed or denied in its entirety.
The Chinese Communist Party – as we sit here today in the beautiful facility in Nashville, the Chinese Communist Party is detaining and abusing more than one million Uighur Muslims in internment camps in the Xinjiang. It’s the western region of China. The pages of George Orwell’s 1984 are coming to life there. I wish the NBA would acknowledge that. (Applause.)
So Christian pastors today are being unlawfully arrested, beaten, detained inside the Islamic Republic of Iran. We need to speak about this.
Christian areas in northern Iraq that I’ve had the privilege to visit have been ravaged by ISIS, part of a greater trend of Christian persecution all across the Middle East.
And so the truth – for the past two years we’ve spoken the truth. We’ve hosted ministerials. We bring leaders from all around the world called the Ministerial on Religious Freedom at the State Department. We’ve told the world about these shortfalls and the success of nations when individuals are given their basic human dignity to practice their conscience, their faith, or to choose no faith if they so choose all around the world.
We hosted the largest human rights conference ever at the United States Department of State just this past summer. It was truly remarkable. Faith leaders from all across the globe came together at our beautiful facility in the western party of Washington, D.C. to talk about the importance of religious freedom.
Just this week, the United States made a decision. We put visa restrictions on those responsible for the some of the human rights violations that took place in China and that continue to take place today.
And we’ve stopped American companies from exporting certain products to Chinese tech companies that are enabling these very human rights abuses. We did these things under President Trump’s direction for the simple reason that we know Americans do not want their companies building the machinery of a totalitarian surveillance state.
There’s so much more work to do. I would ask you today to pray for my work in defending religious freedom. (Applause.)
This is – look, I’ll be straight up with you – I’m from Kansas – but this is not a popular conversation to raise in Washington, D.C. sometimes, and sometimes not with other leaders around the world as well. But the world needs to hear this truth. And with you all, or with you having your voices being raised for this purpose, I am confident that we can improve human dignity for individuals all across the world. (Applause.)
Secretary Michael Pompeo
U.S. State Department
Selected from Pompeo’s speech on: Being a Christian Leader