United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, has delivered some powerful remarks to the Religious Freedom Summit. Revealing fascinating details of her Sikh family’s emigration to the United States, Haley opened up about her own conversion to Christianity and the staggering privilege she’s experienced growing up in a country that champions religious freedom.
The three-day Ministerial for the Advancement of Religious Freedom was poignantly hosted at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C., running from Tuesday thru Thursday this week.
“It says everything about our country that this first ministerial has been devoted to the importance of preserving, protecting and expanding religious freedom,” Haley opened in her keynote address.
“America’s respect for religious freedom informs our foreign policy. It is an overlooked weapon in our modern arsenal of democracy.”
UN Ambassador Nikki Haley speaks at Religious Freedom Summit
Posted by CBN News on Thursday, July 26, 2018
Ambassador Haley said that the expansion of religious freedom is “a means to protect peace and security.”
Then, the former governor of South Carolina revealed that Religion freedom is also “personal” to her.
“I’m fortunate to benefit from religious tolerance. My parents emigrated to a small town in South Carolina from India in 1969 as members of the Sikh faith,” Haley explained. “My Dad wore a turban and still does to this day. We were the first Indian-American family in our small town in South Carolina.”
“We stood out,” Haley quipped, to laughter from the crowd.
The Ambassador went on to explain how many of the locals in their town would arrive at the door in an attempt to evangelize the family.
“People would show up at our door asking us to convert to their religion. Some had tears in their eyes because they sincerely believed that eternal damnation awaited those who didn’t share their faith,” she said.
“My older sister was given a Bible once from these well-meaning visitors. When my mom saw it, she told my sister to read it cover to cover. ‘There’s truth in there,’ she said,” Haley recalled.
The politicians then remarked on her personal faith in Jesus.
“Twenty years ago my faith journey took me to Christianity,” she said, adding: “I have found great strength in my faith and trust in my heart, but I am a person who is humble in my faith. I don’t claim to have the wisdom to know what God has in store for me or for other people.”
“But I do know this,” Haley continued, “there are many places in the world where my faith journey would have been impossible, places where governments deny their people the right to choose their faiths the right to have a faith at all. ”
The Ambassador said that it was to her “great fortun” that her parents were able to “legally emigrate to America.”
“Here, we not only protect our inalienable right to know God’s grace, we also know that true grace cannot be imposed by government. It must be embraced freely from within,” she said.
Haley also noted that her experience as ambassador to the United Nations had “given the opportunity to see the most intimate and personal issue impacts entire nations and peoples.”
She added: “It has given me the chance to extend the remarkable example of American religious freedom, something I experienced first-hand, into the international arena.”
The Ambassador also noted that at the UN, she has witnessed how “peace and security are being threatened from the denial of religious freedom.”
In a brilliantly articulated remark, Haley said that the denial of religious freedom is “so destructive” because it “represents the state elevating itself above the divine.”
RT @USUN: “We will continue to forcefully advocate for religious tolerance in the international arena. Not just because so many people are being denied this right, but because defending religious freedom makes for a safer and more peaceful world for all of us.” pic.twitter.com/pPRQKLSc9M
— Nikki Haley (@nikkihaley) July 27, 2018
“In America, our rights are outside of the realm of government,” she added. “Denial of religious freedom is the ultimate authoritarianism. Limiting or denying religious freedom is a key way for governments to exert control over their people.”
Haley concluded: “Where there is religious tolerance, there is political tolerance. And where there is political tolerance, there is peace, security and prosperity.”