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Keeping Count on Religious Liberty

Congressional ScorecardOpen Doors USA has published a midterm Congressional Scorecard for International Religious Freedom for the 112th session of Congress to evaluate each senator’s and representative’s record on religious freedom issues. Legislators are graded on their votes and co-sponsorship of a selection of the most important religious freedom bills and resolutions that seek to protect Christians and other persecuted faith groups worldwide.

“Open Doors USA’s scorecard has helped to increase the number of Congressional offices who are making international religious freedom a higher priority,” said Open Doors USA Director of Advocacy Lindsay Vessey. “We do this by regularly communicating with nearly all Congressional offices, alerting them to opportunities to engage on international religious freedom issues, as well as informing them of which items will be included in the scorecard."

According to the scorecard, U.S. senators on average scored much lower than their House counterparts. The top scoring senators were Mark Kirk (R-IL), Carl Levin (D-MI), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Jon Tester (D-MT) and John Cornyn (R-TX). All received a score of 75 percent. No U.S. senator received a 100 percent rating.

Members of the House, on the other hand, had 10 members with a perfect score. The representatives include  Ken Calvert (R–CA), Michael Capuano (D-MA), John Carter (R–TX), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Robert Dold (R-IL), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Tom Marino (R-PA), Scott Rigell (R-VA) and Ed Royce (R-CA).

Middle Eastern Church in ruinsOne Congressman, Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), earned a score of 100 percent plus. Wolf ranked over 100 percent because members who are the primary sponsor of a scored bill or resolution receive an extra credit point for each item of which they are the main sponsor. Extra credit is awarded to members who have dedicated extra time and resources to promote religious freedom.

To view the scorecard and to find out if your representative or senator has religious freedom as a top priority, go to http://advocacy.opendoorsusa.org/be-a-voice/congressional-scorecard/.

An estimated 100 million Christians worldwide suffer interrogation, arrest and even death for their faith in Christ, with millions more facing discrimination and alienation. 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 (888-524-2535) or go to their website at www.OpenDoorsUSA.org.

(For more information or to set up an interview, contact Jerry Dykstra at (616) 915-4117 or jerryd@odusa.org)

PHOTOGRAPH ABOVE: Middle Eastern church in ruins after attack.