Saturday, May 08, 2010

International Religious Freedom not on Obama Radar

The bipartisan U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) says that President Obama is failing to defend and promote religious freedom around the world.

For background, read Obama Inaction re: Christian Persecution Worldwide

UPDATE 11/25/11: Religious freedom commission granted brief extension by Congress

UPDATE 9/22/11: White House, Senate satisfied to allow USCIRF to close down

-- From "US defense of global religious freedom wanes under Obama, panel says" by Howard LaFranchi, Christian Science Monitor staff writer 4/29/10

The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) used the occasion of its annual report unveiled Thursday to question the Obama administration’s commitment to worldwide religious freedom. This year’s report – which named 13 countries including China, Iraq, Nigeria, and Saudi Arabia as serious violators of religious freedom – had stinging words for the US government, saying the place for religious freedom in US foreign policy “seems to shrink year after year for the White House and the State Department.”

The USCIRF was created by Congress in 1998 as part of a broader effort to require the government to include religious freedom in its foreign-policy goals. One feature of the 1998 legislation was creation of an ambassador-at-large for religious freedom – a post Obama has yet to fill, as the commission annual report notes.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "U.S. Fails to Stick Up for Victims of Religious Violence in Nigeria and Elsewhere, Commission Finds" by Pete Winn, Senior Writer/Editor 4/30/10

“Presidential references to religious freedom have become rare, often replaced at most with references to freedom of worship,” said USCIRF Chairman Leonard Leo, announcing the release of the 2010 commission report. “The same holds true for many of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s speeches.”

Failing to talk about religious freedom “could well be viewed by human rights defenders and officials in other countries as having concrete policy implications.”

The bipartisan commission hit the administration hard for failing to take action against nations where crimes against religious freedom are routine and go unpunished.

“Countering impunity is among the greatest challenges the United States government faces as it develops policies to effectively promote and protect freedom of religion or belief around the world,” members of the federal commission said in a 380-page report.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.