President Obama this week stated his intention to nominate Rabbi David Saperstein as the next Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom at the State Department. Secretary of State John Kerry called Rabbi Saperstein “the gold standard” in this area. He particularly highlighted Rabbi Saperstein’s leadership as the first Chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, as well as his ongoing work as Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. While some religious freedom advocates are troubled by Rabbi Saperstein’s liberal domestic policies, including his opposition to the recent Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision, others have highlighted his respected credentials and have expressed support for the nominee in the effort to promote religious liberty in increasingly hostile and turbulent waters in many areas abroad. Rabbi Saperstein’s nomination must be confirmed by the Senate before he assumes this ambassadorial post, which has been vacant since Dr. Suzan Johnson Cook stepped down last October.
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations
Published: August 1, 2014