Liberty is the most important export of the United States says Sen. James Lankford who crafted new legislation to promote religious freedom around the globe.
For the first time in the history of the U.S., the religious freedom policies of other nations will be taken into account in trade negotiations if Sen. Lankford’s Religious Freedom amendment to Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) act becomes law.
The amendment passed the Senate unanimously. The amended bill is now being considered by the U.S. House of Representatives.
“Our greatest export is freedom,” Sen. Lankford said in a U.S. Senate floor speech about the amendment that he and colleagues worked on for two years. Click here to watch Sen. Lankford’s speech.
“When we trade, we not only exchange goods, we exchange ideas and values. Our greatest export is our American value, the dignity of each person, hard work, innovation and liberty; that is what we send around the world. It has the greatest impact.”
Sen. Lankford, R-OK, said the values expressed in the Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal and are endowed by their creator with rights that include life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness were not limited to US citizens, but were applicable worldwide.
“We believe every person should have the protection of government to live (his) faith, not the compulsion of government to practice any one faith or to be forced to reject all faith altogether,” he said.
Sen. Lankford’s amendment adds a provision to the overall negotiating objectives outlined in TPA that requires the Administration to take the religious freedom policies of other nations into consideration when negotiating trade agreements.
TPA legislation guides the Executive Branch in defining negotiating objectives and negotiating trade agreements. Congress retains the authority to review and decide whether any proposed U.S. trade agreement will be implemented.
In working on the amendment, Sen. Lankford said he had been told over and over again “that we don’t talk about religious freedom in our trade negotiations.”
“And I have asked why not?” he said. “We should encourage trade with another country when that country acknowledges our basic value of the dignity of every person to live their own faith.
“Our nation is not just an economy; our nation is a set of ideas and values. We believe each person has value and worth. It benefits every person if we lead with our values and not sell out for a dollar the people who have been in bondage as a prisoner of conscience for years.”
Sen. Lankford and other Freshman Senators lead a weekly Senate Member Bible study that is taught by Ralph Drollinger, the President of Capitol Ministries.