USA (ODM/MNN) — Worldwide religious freedom has many crusaders
who raise their voices for those who cannot.
According to Open Doors USA, a recently-introduced initiative in
the U.S. Congress gives a big boost to those standing in solidarity with the persecuted
Titled "HR1856," the bill reauthorizes the U.S. Commission on
International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) for
seven more years. The USCIRF monitors
the state of religious freedom worldwide and makes independent policy
recommendations about the worst violators to the President, the Secretary of
State, and the Congress.
At this point, it's the only government commission of its kind
in the world with the credibility and clout to keep religious freedom issues actively
before the U.S. government.
HR 1856 also makes changes to the 1998 International Religious
Freedom Act that caused it to become an official part of US foreign policy.
There are a number of problems with the way the original 1998 IRFA was
implemented, and this new bill addresses some of those key weaknesses.
For example, HR 1856 makes
a change that allows IRF Ambassador Dr. Johnson Cook to report directly to the
Secretary of State like other Ambassadors do. Currently, she works under the Assistant Secretary for Democracy Human
Rights and Labor in the State Department. This is just one example of how HR 1856 would help to make religious
freedom a priority within the State Department.
All of these changes are critical to improving the way the U.S.
government promotes international religious freedom and helps Open Doors, as
well as many other like-minded groups, achieve the goal of serving persecuted
Christians. You can contact your
Congressman to make your thoughts known on this. Click here for help.