Locals Push Bill Spreading Religious Freedom

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A Santa Ana-based group pushing for religious freedom worldwide has launched a new advocacy campaign aimed at beefing up the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 and, with it, U.S. foreign policy.

Turmoil in Nigeria, the Middle East, Northern Africa and Pakistan--including the burning of churches and killing of Christians--proves U.S. House Resolution 1856 is critically needed, according to Open Doors USA.


The bill would reauthorize the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) and allow the IRF office to more effectively endorse religious freedom through advocacy, reporting and programming. The legislation would also add governments threatening religious freedom to the State Department list of "Countries of Particular Concern." All foreign service officers would receive religious freedom training.

Under current law, Suzan Johnson Cook, ambassador-at-large for International Religious Freedom, works under the Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Michael Posner. With HR 1856, Cook would report directly to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

"If this bill passes, it will offer a significant advancement in religious freedom worldwide," says Carl Moeller, Open Doors USA's president and CEO, in a statement from the group. "It is important to urge our U.S. representatives to vote for this bill."

Lindsay Vessey, Moeller's advocacy director, calls HR 1856 "one of the most important bills for the promotion of international religious freedom to be introduced. It is critical that HR 1856 be passed before the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom's funding expires in September. It is imperative that constituents let their elected officials know that religious freedom is important to them and that they campaign for religious freedom for all people of faith around the world."

Vessey points out that nearly 70 percent of the world's 6.8 billion people live in countries with high restrictions on religion. Stable, democratic governments in these countries are unlikely to ever succeed without religious freedom, Open Doors USA argues.

For more information about the campaign, go here.
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3 comments
uscirf_reform
uscirf_reform

USCIRF has miserably failed at "Championing freedom of ALL religions".  It indirectly favors one religion over all others. More-over, It's actions and non-actions often harm freedom of other religions.For instance, Fiji is identified as a violator of "Freedom of Worship" by U.S. Department of State's annual IRF report and Hindu American Foundation's annual Hindu Human Rights Report for several years. U.S.  Department of State's 2001 Fiji Report states "Methodist Church authorities and allied political parties continue to work for the establishment of a Christian state". U.S Department of State's 2009 report displays concern around nationwide "Christian crusade" directed by Fijian Police Commissioner. In sharp contrast, Fiji does not figure into any USCIRF annual reports till date.

USCIRFs reports are often filled with quasi-lies, biased omissions and deceptive hyperbole. Sometimes, USCIRF's one-sided reporting not only fails to stand up for the very cause it is suppose to champion namely “Freedom of worship without fear” but also lends voice to those who want to curtail it.

In a study, Institute of Global Engagement concluded that "U.S. IRF policy is often viewed abroad...as a front of American missionaries. However inaccurate, these perceptions have dramatically curtailed the policy's impact."

USCIRFs selective cursing of darkness hurts the freedom of some religions.

USCIRF reports compliance with section 202(a) (2) of the IRFA 1998 is suspect. More-over, It does not seem to be following Article 9 of U N Human Rights Declaration.Check: http://uscirf.blogspot.com for details.

Nick
Nick

How about a bill granting us freedom from religion?

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

Supposedly that's already in the Bill of Rights...but sometimes that part is ignored. For example, Prop 8 in California...or those draconian anti-choice laws being passed in various states. Supposedly we have a secular government, except when it comes to Christian dogma...then it's legitimate legislation for some reason...

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