Which Congressmen Received A+ for International Religious Freedom?
ICC Note: A new “congressional scorecard” has been released rating our nation’s lawmakers by their propensity to support religious freedom legislation. Despite several Congressman making an A+ rating, the vast majority are not actively involved in the issue and the current presidential administration is widely seen as perhaps the most “hostile” toward religious freedom in U.S. history.
By Katherine Weber
2/21/2013 United States (CP) - A Utah-based nonprofit dedicated to monitoring religious freedom recently published an International Religious Freedom Scorecard, which uses a grading system to indicate each U.S. federal legislator's dedication to international religious freedom during the 112th Congress of 2011-2012.
The grading system uses tallied numerical points which indicate the level of a legislator's prioritization of bills, resolutions, and letters relating to international religious freedom.
"Religious Freedom is core to the very essence of being human," Lindsay Vessey, executive director of the newly-founded Venn Institute and former founder of Open Doors USA's advocacy program, said in a statement.
Vessey created the scorecard during her tenure at Open Doors USA, and was granted rights to publish the scorecard under the Venn Institute.
"Federal legislators have the ability to help America lead in the protection and promotion of religious freedom worldwide through making public statements on various issues and cases, by passing bills in support of this freedom, and by exerting pressure in support of religious freedom in specific cases," Vessey continued.
Final scores found that six U.S. Representatives received an A+ for their dedication to international religious freedom, including Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.), John Carter (R-Texas), Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), and Frank Wolf (R-Va.).
One notable highlight of the 112th Congressional session, according to the Venn Institute, is the reauthorization of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. The commission faced expiration in late 2011, but was ultimately reauthorized with a smaller budget on Dec. 16, 2011.
Another achievement for international religious freedom includes a bi-partisan increase in attendance in the International Religious Freedom caucus, which seeks to raise Congressional awareness for religious persecution around the world.
Ken Klukowski, an expert on religious freedom and director of the Center for Religious Liberty at the Family Research Council, previously told The Christian Post that he believes U.S. President Barack Obama's administration has been "the most hostile" towards religious freedom.
"I think the record is clear that this president and this administration are the most hostile towards religious liberty in all of American history," Klukowski told CP at a Family Research Council event.