Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Obama Ignores Law for Religious Freedom Ambassador

In 1998, Congress passed the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) to highlight and alleviate religious persecution worldwide, but since Barack Obama was elected president, the position of IRFA ambassador-at-large has been vacant for a cumulative three years despite Obama's repeated promises to fill the post.
“A continued vacancy will confirm the suspicion that already exists among foreign governments, persecutors, victims and American diplomats that the issue is not a priority.”
-- Thomas Farr, professor of religion and international affairs at Georgetown University
For background, click headlines below to read previous articles:

President Obama Claims Religious Liberty Around the World is his Priority

President Obama Prioritizes 'Gay Rights' NOT International Religious Freedom

President Obama Ignores Christian Genocide by Islamists, Focuses on Gay Agenda

Vice President Biden Says 'Gay Rights' Trump Religious Beliefs

Al Qaeda Proclaims War on Cross & U.S., Obama Silent

In addition, read Christians, Extinct in Middle East, as Islam Wins

-- From "Religious Freedom Is a Tenet of Foreign Policy, Obama Says" by Peter Baker, New York Times 2/6/14

Mr. Obama’s attention to religious freedom issues has sometimes been criticized. He did not nominate someone to fill the congressionally authorized position of ambassador at large for international religious freedom until the summer of his second year in office and his eventual nominee, Suzan Johnson Cook, was not confirmed until April 2011.

She stepped down in October and has yet to be replaced. Mr. Obama had no nominee to announce by Thursday’s [prayer] breakfast and so was left to promise vaguely that he looks forward to nominating a replacement, offering no timetable.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Wanted: a new ambassador-at-large for religious freedom" by Lauren Markoe, Religion News Service — Washington Post 1/15/14

. . . wondering how long it’s going to take the White House to name a new ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom.

Many in the field hope it’s someone with more diplomatic background than Johnson Cook, a former Clinton administration official and popular Baptist minister whose international experience was mostly acquired on the job.

The ambassador-at-large position does not report directly to Secretary of State John Kerry, as do other ambassadors-at-large, further evidence to those who argue that the State Department needs to take the plight of the religiously oppressed more seriously.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Despite His February Promise, Obama Still Hasn’t Filled Religious Freedom Post" by Patrick Goodenough, 7/9/14

Obama told the National Prayer Breakfast gathering last February, “I look forward to nominating our next ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom to help lead these efforts” to promote religious freedom around the world.

Over the ensuing period State Department spokeswomen have periodically agreed that the ambassador position is an important one, while saying that other officials from Secretary of State John Kerry down regularly bring up religious freedom issues in their interaction with foreign governments.

“You know how strongly we feel about having someone in that position,” department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Monday, as she confirmed that she had nothing to report on a nomination.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Rep. Wolf: Int’l Religious Freedom Commission Gives ‘Unvarnished Truth’ About Allies, Foes" by Patrick Goodenough, 7/9/14

At a time when religious persecution is on the rise across the globe, the U.S. House voted Tuesday to reauthorize a statutory religious freedom watchdog. . . .

Pakistan arguably has been the biggest beneficiary of the State Department’s reluctance to impose penalties on a country viewed as an important counter-terrorism partner. Citing notorious blasphemy laws and other abuses, the USCIRF [U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom] has called for Pakistan to be designated a “country of particular concern” (CPC) every year since 2002, and the State Department has overruled the recommendation each time.

Under the IRFA the administration may impose sanctions or take other measures against CPCs, designed to generate improved behavior from governments which either themselves violate citizens’ religious freedom, or permit other parties to do so.

Even when the administration has followed a USCIRF recommendation on CPC designation, it has at times chosen to waive sanctions, favoring dialogue instead. The clearest case of this has been Saudi Arabia, which has been blacklisted since 2004 but which neither the Bush nor Obama administration has sanctioned as a result.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

Also read President Obama Provokes Second 'In God We Trust' Movement as well as ObamaNation: Alters of Worship to Sexual Deviancy