The Freedom From Religion Foundation is toasting the demise of a Christian nationalist commission imposed on the nation by Mike Pompeo, President Trump’s secretary of state.
FFRF was among the first groups to criticize and oppose Pompeo’s pet project, the so-called Commission on Unalienable Rights. FFRF was sure that the true goal of the commission was to turn the concept of religious freedom into a “God-given” superright that trumps other rights — a fear that was confirmed by the commission’s egregious report. We had early information on the commission and immediately launched an investigation, using the Freedom of Information Act to seek records. In a joint letter, FFRF charged that Pompeo’s attempt to create a hierarchy of rights was an attack on human rights as they’ve been understood for decades and urged him “to immediately disband the body.”
We’re delighted that our advice was followed by President Biden’s secretary of state, Anthony Blinken. He has announced, in a statement accompanying the annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, that the commission has been disbanded. Blinken also reiterated a vision of human rights that FFRF defended in the face of Pompeo’s attacks:
One of the core principles of human rights is that they are universal. All people are entitled to these rights, no matter where they’re born, what they believe, whom they love, or any other characteristic. Human rights are also co-equal; there is no hierarchy that makes some rights more important than others. Past unbalanced statements that suggest such a hierarchy, including those offered by a recently disbanded State Department advisory committee, do not represent a guiding document for this administration.
“To that breath of fresh air, even we atheists might say ‘Amen,’” comments FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “This commission was flawed from the start, conceived with the original sin of Christian nationalism. May its siblings soon follow it into obscurity.”
FFRF is keeping track of all the various executive orders, commissions and other Trump-created bodies that were open attacks on our secular government or an effort to privilege conservative Christians over other Americans. The national state/church watchdog will keep pushing until all of them join Pompeo’s pet project on the ash heap of history.