Religious freedom advocates slam White House
By Michelle Boorstein
Some human rights advocates have been expressing concern over the past year that the Obama Administration does not consider the topic among its highest priorities. Now religious freedom advocates are coming out in force with a similar argument.
Earlier this week, an ideologically broad range of people from the religious freedom world put out a public letter pleading with the White House to fill the empty religious freedom ambassador position at the State Department -- the highest-level position in government tasked by law with promoting religious freedom abroad.
"The absence of senior level leadership in your administration on this critical issue is of grave and urgent concern," read the letter, which requested the empty slot be filled and that an "integrated strategy for promoting the freedom of religion" be developed and announced. The letter requested the position be given the high status envisioned by the decade-old law that created it, with the ambassador reporting to the Secretary of State and the president.
But also this week, Joe Grieboski, a well-known religious liberty advocate blogged that the State Department has decided in fact to decrease the position's status, having the ambassador report to an assistant secretary for human rights.
Such stuff sounds like office politics and bureaucracy to us outsiders, but what it means -- if Grieboski is correct -- is that the top person in government in charge of religious liberty issues abroad isn't sitting at the table with the big kids.
Georgetown University's Thomas Farr explained why that matters in a post this week for On Faith.
Michelle Boorstein| April 2, 2010; 7:35 AM ET | Category: God in Government Save & Share:
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