Statement by U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Mark Green on National Religious Freedom Day

For Immediate Release

Thursday, January 16, 2020


This National Religious Freedom Day, we take the opportunity to celebrate America's first freedom.  A desire for religious freedom is what brought Americans to Plymouth's shores, which makes it a foundational value in the United States' Journey to Self-Reliance.  One expression of religious freedom in the United States is the legacy of faith-based organizations and their enduring contributions to stability, peace, and prosperity here at home and around the world. 

Today's proposed update of USAID's Rule for Participation by Religious Organizations underscores our commitment to religious freedom as we continue our partnerships with faith-based organizations globally in sectors that range from economic empowerment to peace and reconciliation.  Whether through delivering humanitarian assistance in crisis zones, providing life-saving health care and education for underserved populations, or mitigating conflict in fragmented societies, religious actors work across the globe to serve communities in need.  

The updated regulation released today provides clarity regarding the rights and obligations of faith-based organizations that are participating in USAID's programs, and is intended to ensure that the Agency continues to implement our programs and activities in a manner consistent with the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

USAID recognizes that faith-based organizations are critical partners in development and humanitarian assistance.  Their unparalleled networks, historic relationships, deep reservoirs of trust within communities, and grassroots expertise enhance their ability to reach and operate in places where government agencies often cannot, and to provide assistance in a way that respects local communities, identities, and cultures.

USAID is proud of the work we have accomplished over the past 58 years in which faith-based organizations have been critical partners as we assist others along the Journey to Self-Reliance. 

Last updated: January 30, 2020

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