Robert Morrison

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee. She is not impressed with the Obama administration’s attempts at appeasing the Castro brothers:

“This administration’s insistence on continually reaching out to the Cuban tyranny and seeking to ease restrictions is rewarding the despotic Castro brothers while at the same time undermining U.S. interests and security.”

The Obama administration can be quite eloquent on the subject of human rights. The president said in his statement on the recent mass demonstrations in Egypt that “I believe that the Egyptian people want the same things that we all want—a better life for ourselves and our children, and a government that is fair and just and responsive.”

The problem with such lovely words is that they don’t square with his administration’s actions. Nor do they equate to reality in Egypt. Egyptians are quick to tell Pew Poll researchers that they, too, favor human rights, that they support a free press and regular, popular elections.

But these same Egyptians—84 percent of them—tell the Pew Foundation pollsters that anyone who converts to Christianity or Judaism from Islam should be put to death.

People who want to kill their neighbors for changing their religion or practicing a different religion will never enjoy democracy. America settled this issue in 1786 with the famous Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom, whose principles were affirmed in 1787 in our Constitution, and again in 1791 in our Bill of Rights.

Failure to take seriously the need for religious freedom will doom any attempts at democracy. The grounding of human liberty rests in the belief that our rights come from God.

Mr. Obama’s personal faith sounds sincere, but his actions are wanting. Freedom-loving peoples throughout the world suffer as a result.

Robert Morrison

Robert Morrison is a senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council.