A Continuing Commitment to Supporting Religious Freedom

By Ben Rhodes [White House Blog]
21 July 2011

President Barack Obama meets with His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama in the Map Room 
of the White House. July 16, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The United States has a long-standing commitment to supporting religious freedom around the globe. That commitment is rooted in our own values and experience as a nation, which dates back to our Founding. It is also rooted in our belief that the freedom of religion is a universal right that should be respected everywhere. To that end, the United States government continues to speak out for right of people to practice their religion in all parts of the world.

On Saturday, July 16, President Obama and Secretary Clinton each met with different world religious leaders and were able to underscore the Administration’s commitment. Secretary Clinton met in Istanbul with the Ecumenical Patriarch, His All Holiness Bartholomew I, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios Trakatellis of America, and Father Alexander Karloutsos. Secretary Clinton discussed the Obama Administration's commitment to religious freedom, including the importance of reopening the Halki Seminary. Meanwhile, the President met with His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama in the White House. The President reiterated his strong and enduring support for Tibet’s unique religious traditions, and called for the protection of human rights of Tibetans in China, including religious freedom.

Ben Rhodes is the Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communication

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