Washington D.C., May 6, 2021 / 19:00 pm
A bipartisan group of members of Congress asked President Biden this week to prioritize responding to global religious persecution.
“Religious freedom, one of the most basic human rights for all people, has historically been an area of sincere bipartisan support and agreement in American foreign policy,” stated a May 4 letter by members of both the House and Senate to President Biden.
The May 4 letter was led by Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Rep. French Hill (R-Ark.). The members were joined by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), as well as Reps. Juan Vargas (D-Calif.), Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.), and Henry Cuellar (D-Texas).
“The United States is a beacon of hope and freedom, and we must continue to be a leader in calling attention and responding to religious persecution wherever it occurs,” they stated.
Citing the Pew Research Center’s annual study of global religious restrictions and persecution, the legislators called the current state of international religious persecution a “crisis.”
They noted persecution of “the Rohingya in Burma, mass imprisonment and exploitation of Uyghurs and other faith groups by the Chinese government, and the ISIS genocide against Yazidis and Christians in Syria and Iraq” to emphasize the urgency of promoting religious freedom abroad.
The members called on Biden to fill vacant positions in his administration that are charged with promoting international religious freedom.
In particular, they urged Biden to appoint an “experienced, well-qualified Ambassador-at-Large leading the International Religious Freedom office within the State Department.”