Posts Tagged ‘U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom’

In Support of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

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.

Respecting Religious Freedom

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Since I returned from Rio, I am catching up on some reading. I came across this insightful op-ed on religious freedom that was published last week’s Wall Street Journal.

Here is an excerpt:

A common theory about freedom of religion suggests that such a value is grounded in a modus vivendi, or compromise: People agree to respect each other’s freedom in order to avoid religiously motivated strife. But the modus vivendi theory obscures the deep ground of principle on which the right of religious liberty rests and the true reasons for respecting the religious freedom of others.

As a Republican and a Democrat on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, we are committed, with our colleagues, to advancing religious liberty around the globe. One of our goals is to make clear that such liberty is not simply a matter of sensible social compromise, or just an American ideal or a Western value, but an essential element of human dignity.

You can read the whole op-ed here.