Wednesday, January 19, 2011

President Obama Declares Religious Freedom Day

Last week, President Barack Obama declared January 16, 2011 (last Sunday), to be Religious Freedom Day. You can read the entire Presidential Proclamation at the White House's web site.

Promoting religious freedom both in and outside the country is an official goal of the American government, a fact we will read about later in the quarter. For now, I am interested in knowing if you think these declarations amount to much. At the least, the press attention they get reminds the American public that religious freedom is a policy goal. It is also true that religious freedom is a goal for which people of all political persuasions agree, so it is good press for anyone. Any other benefits you see?


  1. I think that President Obama probably declared a day of religious freedom in order to promote religious tolerance in the U.S., but I think that his main goal was to set an example for the rest of the world, to show them that although a government can be secular, the people can still be religious and religiously tolerant.

    Naila Rana

  2. I agree with Naila. Not only is President Obama serving as an example to our country, but for the rest of the world. Because he is the face of our country, his influence on religion makes a bold statement. Therefore, I would say that these declarations do amount to something. Our country was founded based on freedom of the people, and it is this freedom that President Obama is striving to preserve- in this case, in religion. By promoting religious freedom both within and outside the country, there may be benefits beyond simply good press. Although (realistically) not all may agree, President Obama's declarations for religious freedom may actually help to reduce religious hatred and religious conflicts between groups within the United States, as well as between nations. With that, some benefits that can be considered may also include the promotion for peace, and even an increase in circulation of religious goods (which, in that case, can be economically beneficial). This is not to say there are no downfalls in advocating this policy, but there are possible benefits nonetheless.

    Anne Valencia

  3. President Obama's declaration of Religious Freedom Day does promote religious tolerance in and outside America, but it is not considered as important compared to other political policies. There will always be religious conflicts in other parts of the world whereas America has a long history of struggling/gaining religious freedom and tolerance that makes it unique. I'm not saying that religious tolerance around the world will never be a possibility, its just really hard to promote something that people from different religious backgrounds and places will be all be able to agreed on. It is good press for Obama represent the United States of America as a leader of religious tolerance, but his other policies on his agenda that he mentioned during his campaign should be put into action despite how long it will take to have universal health care and etc.

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  5. I agree with what Theresa Tran stated about how Obama's declaration of a Religious Freedom Day promotes religious tolerance not only domestically but also internationally. Not only can this be seen as Obama sending a "friendly" reminder to all Americans about a key part of our constitution but it can also be seen as a reminder to all other countries (particularly those accused of recent religious rights violations). With recent events in Egypt and Iraq, this was a perfect opportunity for the Obama administration to send a "friendly" reminder to American citizens as well as a sort of warning to those countries violating the religious rights of their citizens.

    Cesar Salazar
    Econ 17 (Winter '11)

  6. Jiyoung Baek 51465092

    For President Obama to declare HIS ideals publicly and make that a key goal of his administration reinforces to many, among a multitude of reasons, why he was chosen for election. President Obama should be reiterating this point to the public that religious freedom stands as a foremost symbol of what the U.S. represents. By recognizing and declaring the importance of realizing religious freedom globally, President Obama suggests that this goal has not been reached yet, but the U.S. does intend to influence other nations to make religious freedom totally attainable. While many Americans question Pres. Obama's particular faith, Pres. Obama is making the point of establishing that he too is practicing religious freedom and not catering to the religious affiliations of other leaders, past and present.


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