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House gives the go ahead to keep Religious Freedom Commission afloat

By December 19, 2011

USA (MNN) — The lengthy saga of the future of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), a watchdog agency, came to an end on Friday.

Open Doors USA reports that the House of Representatives passed an amended version of HR 2867 by voice vote on Friday. It will now be sent to President Obama for his signature.

USCIRF has been hanging by a thread for months. (Read about it here.) The decision about whether or not the Commission would remain open was continuously postponed. If funding was not approved on Friday, the Commission would have been forced to close its doors for good.

An end to USCIRF would have been devastating news to believers. USCIRF focuses exclusively on religious freedom issues around the world, monitoring violations in various nations, bringing them to light in the U.S., and making recommendations as to how the U.S. should respond.

As a result, USCIRF helps to ensure that people can freely share the Gospel around the world. Without the Commission around, Open Doors was worried what message would be sent to already oppressive governments.

Now though, Open Doors is sighing in relief. "Open Doors is very pleased that the USCIRF has been reauthorized for three more years," says Advocacy Director Lindsay Vessey. "We thank all of our supporters who took action in support of this reauthorization. The continued existence of the USCIRF will provide valuable accountability to religious rights violators worldwide."

Open Doors USA President/CEO Dr. Carl Moeller adds: "Open Doors and many other advocacy groups have been campaigning for reauthorization for many months. Praise the Lord that action finally produced results….even if it was at the last minute. The USCIRF is a powerful voice for those who don't have the religious freedom we enjoy in the United States. I encourage the Obama administration to work closely with USCIRF to promote religious tolerance for all faith groups."

Open Doors supports and strengthens believers in the world's most difficult areas through Bible and Christian literature distribution, leadership training and assistance, Christian community development, prayer and presence ministry and advocacy on behalf of suffering believers. To partner with Open Doors USA, call toll free at 888-5-BIBLE-5 or go to www.OpenDoorsUSA.org.

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