Senators Push For Swift Religious Freedom Ambassador Appointment

Ten senators last week called on the White House to quickly move forward on nominating an Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom. Led by Sens. James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), these legislators sent a letter to President Trump highlighting persecution of religious minorities around the world, including that of Christians and others by ISIS. They emphasized that the new Ambassador must “understand the relationship between religious freedom and national security” and that the Ambassador’s office in the State Department should be empowered to advocate this liberty “as a core objective of U.S. foreign policy.”

The senators also warned of the negative message a delay in this appointment could send to other nations. They said, “Under previous administrations, this position was not immediately filled and the prolonged vacancy sent a message that religious freedom was not a priority of the United States government.”

In addition to Sens. Lankford and Rubio, other joining this letter were Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), James Risch (R-Idaho), and Todd Young (R-Ind.). It was issued swiftly after the Senate’s confirmation of U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations

Published: February 10, 2017

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