Why Americans Should Care About Attacks on Religious Liberty in Russia

From The Daily Signal. Sen. Ben Sasse / /

There are troubling new developments in Russia. Russia’s parliament, the Federal Assembly, has just approved so-called anti-terrorism legislation that criminalizes free speech and that attacks religious liberty.

There’s a lot wrong with Russia. We are witnessing a rising authoritarianism in a declining state. Moscow routinely tramples the rights of press, assembly, speech, dissent, and national sovereignty.

Again let me be explicit: The U.S. does not have a solemn obligation to make the world free, but we absolutely do have an obligation to speak on behalf of those who are made speechless in the dark corners of the globe.

This Russian law would be an affront to free people everywhere—at home and abroad—who believe that rights of conscience—the rights to free speech and to freedom of religion—are pre-political.

These freedoms do not ebb and flow with history. They do not rise and fall with the political fortunes of a despot.

Governments do not give us these rights and governments cannot take them away. These rights of speech and religion and assembly belong to every man, woman, and child because all of us are image-bearers of our creator.

I’m speaking tonight because this new Russian legislation is emblematic of a destructive growing nationalism and of a thirst for power that cannot be ignored.

See complete piece, which was adapted from Sen. Ben Sasse’s remarks on the Senate floor.