Religious Freedom Envoy Bill Advanced in House

The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved legislation last month promoting religious freedom in the Near East and South Central Asia. The bill (H.R. 301), sponsored by Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), would create a special envoy at the State Department focusing specifically on the situations facing religious minorities in those regions. 

NRB has supported this bill for several years. The NRB Board of Directors in 2011 approved a Resolution calling on the President "to make a bold public statement against the international persecution of Christians, and to further enforce that position through his choice of Executive Branch appointments and through his foreign policy decisions." Following that, NRB sent letters of support for this legislation to President Obama and Rep. Wolf.

Speaking on the House Floor, Rep. Wolf declared, “I urge my colleagues to join me in sending an undeniable message to persecuted people of faith the world over, and just as importantly, to the forces that oppress them, that America – this shining city on a hill as envisioned by our founders – will not be silent in the face of the evil.”

The House passed H.R. 301 by a vote of 402-22. A companion bill (S. 653) introduced by Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO), Carl Levin (D-MI), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) awaits action in the Senate.

By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations

Published: October 11, 2013