Farr called the ambassador’s position crucial in terms of representing the U.S.’s stance on protecting religious freedom to other countries.
The religious freedom ambassador, he explained, “is empowered to go anywhere in the world” and “have substantive talks with any group and any government in the world on issues of religious freedom.”
The position also allows for appealing to Congress to fund programs for the advancement of religious freedom and to “empower indigenous forces” in countries throughout the world, including Egypt, he said.
“Unfortunately, I know nothing about this administration that suggests they see any religious freedom issue in what's going on the Egypt,” he said.
CNA contacted the White House on Feb. 8 to discuss Cook's re-nomination. A spokesperson declined to comment.
In a Feb. 1 letter, Archbishop Chaput – a former commissioner on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom – warned President Obama of “a growing worldwide crisis in religious freedom.” He urged the president to fill the post of religious freedom ambassador and to “develop an international religious freedom strategy that engages all elements of our foreign policy establishment.”
“Some 70 percent of the world's people live in nations – regrettably, many of them Muslim-majority countries – where religious freedom is gravely restricted,” the archbishop wrote. “The concern of many Catholics in my own diocese – and I believe across the United States – is that insufficient policy attention has been given to this mounting problem.”