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6/14/2024 United States (International Christian Concern) — The IRF Secretariat released its latest International Religious Freedom Congressional Scorecard last week. The scorecard seeks to provide a nonpartisan “summary of actions taken by Congress on issues related to international religious freedom.” 

The scorecard tracks the sponsorship and co-sponsorship of bills, resolutions, and amendments that support international religious freedom (IRF) and membership in international religious freedom-related caucuses. From this data, experts use a predetermined scale to assign a score and grade to each member of Congress.  

The scorecard evaluated the 117th U.S. Congress, which was in session from Jan. 3, 2021, to Jan. 3, 2023. Overall, the highest-ranking member in Congress is Representative James McGovern of Massachusetts, scoring 36.  

Representative McGovern has served the people of Massachusetts since 1997 and demonstrates a high value for human rights, especially religious freedom. Representative McGovern, a Democrat and professed Catholic, signed 18 pieces of legislation related to IRF during the 117th Congress.   

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida achieved the second-highest score overall and the highest in the U.S. Senate with 31 points. Rubio, a Republican who has served as a Florida senator since 2011 and is a Roman Catholic, signed 16 pieces of legislation related to IRF during the 117th Congress. 

In the key takeaway section of the scorecard report, the IRF Secretariat highlighted how “Congress introduced 58 items relating to freedom of belief, freedom of conscience, or religion during the 117th Congress. This activity represents a 36% decrease in the number of items introduced and scored in the 117th Congress versus the 116th Congress.”  

Despite this overall decrease, the continued demonstration of bipartisan support of international religious freedom through co-sponsorship and voting on IRF legislation in both bodies of Congress provides hope. 

The scorecard provides a valuable method of evaluating Congress’s efficacy in promoting and improving conditions of international religious freedom. 

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