It's a joyous time of year, and I'm grateful we live in a country where we are free to observe and celebrate our traditions and our faiths -- a country where people of different faiths can respect one another. It's something we often take for granted here in America, for the same cannot be said in many other parts of the world. Too often people endure daily slights for their religious beliefs -- or worse. In many cases, they live in fear of persecution, imprisonment or death for what they believe. Millions are denied what we believe to be a basic right: the right to live their faith freely in a free society.
Our Founding Fathers themselves were witness to much religious persecution and, therefore, sought to create a nation that treated freedom to worship as a fundamental right, the first freedom. In the Declaration of Independence, our founders highlighted our inalienable rights -- which come from our Creator, not government. As the leaders of free people around the world, it is my hope that we would advance our founders' vision and serve as voices for the millions around the world who are oppressed.
But sadly, I'm too frequently reminded that this is not happening. Either it has not been a priority or our leaders don't truly believe in protecting this first freedom. Either way, this is unacceptable. For example, on multiple occasions, President Barack Obama has chosen not to raise concerns with Chinese leaders about their frequent imprisonment of human rights advocates or treatment of Tibetan Buddhists, Uighur Muslims and Falun Gong members -- all of whom have been oppressed because the Chinese government views them as a threat. The administration also has chosen not to speak out on the one-child policy.
Former Senator Rick Santorum is the author of Blue Collar Conservatives: Recommitting to an America That Works.
Be the first to read Rick Santorum's column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com delivered each morning to your inbox.