Religious freedom is in peril in many places around the world, with the violent persecution of Christians in Iraq being just the most recent horrifying example of religious persecution. The kidnapping of schoolgirls and the bombing of Christian churches by Boko Haram, the treatment of Jewish, Orthodox, and Christians in the Euromaidan movement in the Ukraine, the ever-present threat of violence against our Jewish brothers and sisters (like the recent anti-Semetic episodes in Europe), all point to the pressing need for the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, a compelling force to combat the persecution of Christians, Jews, and all believers around the globe.
Thus, I am happy to see that the House of Representatives have just passed H.R. 4653 with broad bipartisan support, which reauthorizes the Commission. I hope and pray that the Senate quickly follows suit, because the work of the Commission is too important to let it lapse.
Also, my congratulations to my colleague, Rabbi David Saperstein, who has been nominated by President Obama to serve as the United States Ambassador-at-Large for Religious Freedom. I am sure that the Senate will quickly confirm his appointment, and that he will be a strong and eloquent voice for the religious freedom of all believers around the world.