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New Religious Freedom Bill Introduced In Congress

March 16, 2015 by Sally Rae in ,

Open Doors USA welcomes the introduction of strong new religious freedom legislation in Congress.

About The Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act of 2015

HR 1150, the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act of 2015 is Sponsored by Rep Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Co-Sponsored by Rep Anna Eshoo (D-CA). The Act is named for retired Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA), a tireless defender of International Religious Freedom and the sponsor of the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) of 1998.

HR 1150 proposes to strengthen the impact and influence of the original International Religious Freedom Act.

About The Original Act

The IRFA of 1998 was a landmark piece of legislation. It obligates Congress and the President to consider religious freedom while formulating U.S. foreign policy. It created three entities to monitor religious freedom:

  • The bi-partisan United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)
  • An Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom in the State Department
  • A Special Advisor on International Religious Freedom within the National Security Council

How This Bill Will Make An Impact
If passed, the IRFA of 2015 will make several important changes to the existing law. Most notable of these changes would be raising the status of Ambassador-at-large for International Religious Freedom, to ensure that this person functions as a principal advisor to the Secretary of State.

Another significant amendment to the IRFA will require that the President appoint a “Special Adviser for International Religious Freedom” to the National Security Council. The Special Advisor position was briefly filled during the Clinton administration but has been vacant ever since.

Take Action Today

It is essential that this bill receive several Co-Sponsors in order to be brought to a vote. We urge you to Contact Your Member of Congress Today and ask them to Co-Sponsor this important legislation. Let them know that passage of H.R.1150 will help the United States be a stronger, more unified voice for religious freedom around the world.

Thank you for advocating with us!

Kristin Wright

Director of Advocacy

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