Thomas Farr: Obama Must Appoint Religious Freedom Ambassador

A 1998 law mandates that the US government have an Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom to advance religious liberty around the world as part of American foreign policy. But the Obama administration still has not appointed anyone to this post, even though in his landmark speech to the Muslim world from Cairo in June 2009 President Obama said religious freedom is an American priority. Thomas Farr, associate professor of religion and international affairs at Georgetown University and former director of the State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom, discusses his concerns about Obama’s lack of action, the qualities he’d like to see in the ambassador, and the importance of the office to US foreign policy.

  • Therese

    One might think that perhaps Pres. Obama really does not believe in Religious Freedom. After all he has appointed some people to positions which stymie religious freedom through promoting policies which fly in the face of Christian (and other) teaching. Christian charitable organizations no longer have the choice to adopt babies to married couples of husband and wife only. Homosexualists must be given babies even when it is proven that children need the nourishment and example of both male and female parents. Another example, Obama’s appointing of Peter Jennings, the homosexual activist and promoter to head up the ‘Safe Schools’ program of the United States of America. His ambition to have all school children taught his preferred ‘way of life’ is well recorded. Why should Christian hospitals be forced to provide abortions? Why did the Christian symbol on the wall in Georgetown have to be covered before President Obama would speak there? Yes, perhaps Obama does not believe in Freedom of Religion, he may just have been pandering to the Islamic audience when he spoke in Cairo. So, do we wonder that he has not appointed an Ambassador of Religious Freedom??

  • GFFM

    I predict there will be no ambassador at large for religious freedom during this administration. Obama does not value such a position and has said little of substance on what is called “the first freedom.” He and John Brennan bend over backwards to rename Islamic extremism and jihadism so as not to offend Muslims. However, Obama will not speak out against the clear and escalating violence against Christians and Buddhists in southeast Asia and in many other parts of the world. In Pakistan, atrocities against Christian minorities are communities are committed on a daily basis and there is still silence. The same is true for Nigeria, the Sudan, North Korea and China, still silence. I expect nothing from this president or from Clinton on the religious freedom front–we must wait for the next president.