The U.S. Ignores Decline in Global Religious Freedom

by Jillian Kay Melchior

Religious persecution is increasing around the globe, but the U.S. seems to be turning a blind eye, I write at Doublethink:

The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life reported that three-fourths of the global population—more than 5 billion people—live in countries with “high government restrictions on religion or high social hostilities involving religion.” . . .

With this in mind, Rep. Frank Wolf, R.-Va., and Rep. Anna Eshoo, D.-Calif, have proposed that the U.S. State Department have a special envoy for vulnerable religious minorities. (The idea has a precedent, as Wolf has pointed out; already, the U.S. has a Sudan special envoy and a North Korea envoy to monitor human-rights violations.)

Govtrack.us gives the bill only a 26 percent chance of getting past committee, and a 7 percent chance of being enacted.

In 2011, Wolf and Enshoo introduced a similar bill, which passed with strong bipartisan support in the House.

But the bill languished in the Senate, despite the support of diverse organizations including the American Islamic Congress, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, the United Kingdom Human Rights Law Foundation, the International Coalition for Religious Freedom, the International Institute for Religious Freedom, the Jubilee Campaign, Open Doors, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Union of Councils for Jews in the Former Soviet Union.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the 112th Congress, chaired by incoming Secretary of State John Kerry, refused to so much as hold a hearing on the legislation. Meanwhile, the State Department protested that the position would be “unnecessary, duplicative, and likely counterproductive.”

Read the whole thing here.