By Tony Perkins
Just this week, the State Department released its 2013 International Religious Freedom Report. The report highlights numerous religious freedom violations taking place world-wide throughout 2013, and documents many of these violations in a serious and detailed manner which will be helpful to a variety of interested groups and policy makers. This attention to international religious freedom issues is welcome as news of religious oppression increases worldwide. In recent weeks, all available evidence indicates a genocide is underway in Iraq as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) kills and drives off Christians and exterminates Christian culture. Yet at the same time, we are reminded of our own country’s role as a safe haven for the persecuted as Meriam Ibrahim made her way last night to freedom in the United States.
Yet much still needs to be done. While the State Department brings attention to many serious violations in its report, it fails to name any new nations as “countries of particular concern” despite evidence of serious religious freedom violations by their governments. And while President Obama has finally nominated a new Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, he has opposed legislation to establish a Special Envoy to Promote Religious Freedom of Religious Minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia. More disturbingly, the president’s silence on the Christian genocide in Iraq is pitiful in light of the United States’ international obligations and historical role as a moral voice on these matters. The American public must demand that President Obama call what is taking place in Iraq what it is — genocide.
Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law.
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(Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)
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