Members of Congress Urge Biden to Appoint Ambassador for International Religious Freedom
05/06/2021 United States (International Christian Concern) – This week, Rep. French Hill (R-AR) and Senator James Lankford (R-OK) sent a bicameral letter to President Joe Biden calling on the administration to nominate a new Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom (IRF), a position formerly held by Sam Brownback under the Trump administration that now remains vacant.
“Religious freedom, one of the most basic human rights for all people, has historically been an area of sincere bipartisan support and agreement in American foreign policy,” read the letter. “As such, we would encourage you to nominate an Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom at your earliest opportunity.”
The letter was signed by a bipartisan group of four representatives and four senators, which included Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Roy Blunt (R-MO), and Marco Rubio (R-FL). On the House side, Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX) joined his colleagues Juan Vargas (D-CA) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), who serve as the two co-chairs of the International Religious Freedom Caucus.
International Christian Concern and many other human rights organizations have cosigned similar letters addressed to the Biden administration to push this appointment. These organizations widely agree that the Ambassador for IRF has been vital in furthering religious freedom overseas and is a necessary position if the United States is to take this issue seriously.
This appointment is especially urgent, the Congressmen argue, because of the current rise in global persecution. The letter specifically cites the plight of Coptic Christians in Egypt, the anti-conversion laws in India, and the atrocities of the Chinese Communist Party as ongoing issues of persecution around the world, on which the administration must seek to work with Congress.
“The freedom of religion is a fundamental right that Americans enjoy every day, but sadly is not respected by all governments or non-state actors around the world,” the Congressmen conclude. “The United States is a beacon of hope and freedom, and we must continue to be a leader in calling attention and responding to religious persecution wherever it occurs.”
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