Friday, August 22, 2014

The Obama Administration Should Make More Effective Use of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom

           On Independence Day, I recommended several links for liberty, including one to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom,  The Commission’s purpose is to identify and speak out against religious persecution, as well as to recommend policies to the Executive Branch to advance religious liberty internationally, as American moral suasion and corresponding diplomatic pressure can be effective.  Alas, U.S. President Barack Obama is not making adequate use of the Commission.    

            Later last month, Obama signed the reauthorization into law of the fifteen-year-old bipartisan commission, whose members are appointed by both the President and Congress, but he has failed to appoint an ambassador for religious freedom, as he may do under the reauthorizing legislation.  Naming such an officer would signal a prioritization of religious liberty in U.S. foreign relations.  He has also declined to designate several states as “Countries of Particular Concern” that repress the practice of religion or that fail to safeguard religious liberties adequately, such as Communist Vietnam and several predominately Muslim states.

           Conservatives and all those who recognize the fundamentality of religious liberty should call upon Obama to make full use his power of the to raise the standard of the freedom of religion throughout the world by naming an ambassador for religious freedom and following the recommendations of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, especially by singling out all states its recommends as “Countries of Particular Concern.”

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