Thursday, January 21, 2010

Obama Inaction re: Christian Persecution Worldwide

“President Obama has not yet named an ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom,” a State Department press officer confirmed by phone late Wednesday.

-- From "Buzz rising over international religious freedom ambassador spot" by Michelle Boorstein, Washington Post 1/21/10

Among the most passionate faith-oriented groups in Washington are advocates for international religious freedom. I don't mean so much people who focus on domestic church-state law (though there is overlap among interested parties), but people who fight overseas against things like codified religious discrimination, limits on the construction of churches (and other houses of worship), etc.

People in this albeit small community have been buzzing in recent weeks with news that President Obama had finally picked someone to fill the job of ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom. This spot was created in 1998 and is tasked with promoting religious freedom as a core objective of U.S. foreign policy. The office is supposed to monitor religious persecution around the world, recommend and implement policies and advise the State Department and the president.

Missing, say religious freedom advocates, is any work related to religious freedom or foreign policy.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "One Year Later, Obama Administration’s Top Religious Freedom Post Still Vacant" by Patrick Goodenough, International Editor 1/21/10

“By not having an ambassador-at-large for the past 12 months, the U.S. has failed to demonstrate the importance of religious freedom,” said [Christian advocacy organization, Open Doors USA] director Lindsay Vessey.

“And considering the many religious conflicts around the world and the many Christians and people of other faiths who are persecuted for their beliefs, it is disappointing that President Obama has failed to fill this position,” she added.

Religious freedom campaigners have noted a surge in incidents of violence against Christians in particular over the past two months.

Barnabas Fund, a charity helping Christians in Islamic societies, drew attention to attacks – including fatal shootings, bombings, assaults, arson attacks, threats and arrests – in Iraq, Iran, Indonesia, Pakistan, Algeria, Egypt, Malaysia and, most recently, Nigeria, where clashes between Muslims and Christians this week have reportedly cost several hundred lives.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.