Advocates Urge Senators to Reauthorize Religious Freedom Agency

Religion Today

Advocates Urge Senators to Reauthorize Religious Freedom Agency

Religious freedom advocates are petitioning legislators to reauthorize an international religious freedom agency that will cease to exist on Nov. 18 unless members of Congress take action, the Christian Newswire reports. One U.S. senator is currently preventing a vote on a bill that would keep alive the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, which monitors, raises awareness and informs government officials of threats to religious freedom around the world. "Failure to reauthorize the USCIRF would send a message to the rest of the world that religious freedom is not a national priority," said Lindsay Vessey of Open Doors USA. Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, an interfaith affairs director in Los Angeles, said: "We need a strong, independent USCIRF to make a difference in the lives of millions of people who have no other voice. Reauthorization is vital to the voiceless and to U.S. interests." A recent Pew Forum report found more than 2.2 billion people live in countries where hostilities or government restrictions on religion rose substantially from 2006 to 2009, a report that religious freedom experts called "troubling."

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