Religious Rights

Congress can defend freedoms abroad

As it often is the first right taken away, religious freedom serves as the proverbial canary in the coal mine, warning us that denial of other liberties almost surely will follow.

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Breaking news? A GW grad student hates CUFI

Christians United for Israel (CUFI) sits at the nexus of the two things the far-left and the far-right commonly despise: Christian political advocacy and the Jewish state of Israel. As a result, from time-to-time, an overzealous college/graduate...

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Opinion: Remembering International Religious Freedom Day

This past Sunday, the United States commemorated International Religious Freedom Day, marking the 15th anniversary of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (IRFA).

IRFA created an international religious freedom office in the U.S. State Department, headed by an ambassador-at-large, and the independent, bipartisan U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), which I chair.  Since its inception, USCIRF has monitored religious freedom worldwide and made policy recommendations to the president, secretary of state, and Congress in response to governments that violate this fundamental right.

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Restructuring America's approach to international religious freedom

Suzan Johnson Cook, the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, stepped down from her position this past week after roughly two years of tireless efforts to create interfaith dialogue and fight for the religious and spiritual freedoms for many around the world. Ambassador Johnson Cook forged relationships with government officials and religious leaders alike and has enhanced the work of interfaith leaders, especially women, across the globe. Given the charged political and religious climate in the world today, her work, and that of her office, remain a central priority in the constant struggle for global religious freedom, fundamental rights, and counter-extremism.

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Does DOD still think movies are more important than Masses?

The recent budgetary conflict on Capitol Hill has grabbed headlines nationwide, and many people are feeling the harm of the federal government’s shutdown. And it appears that harm is now affecting the ability of our men and women in uniform to exercise their faith.

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Keep the ban on pulpit politics

Earlier this month, the Commission on Accountability and Policy for Religious Organizations released a report recommending that the government lift the ban on candidate endorsements by tax-exempt religious organizations including houses of worship. Such a change would reverse a decades-old principle that tax-exempt institutions -- which enjoy freedom from numerous types of government regulation and whose donors enjoy a tax deduction -- ought not be engaging in electioneering at the taxpayers’ expense. Obviously, should a religious institution wish to forego that tax-exempt status, its First Amendment rights would guarantee that clergy could use the pulpit to make such endorsements.

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Let Sikhs serve in the U.S. military

A year ago today, on August 5, 2012, a former Marine-turned-Neo-Nazi pulled out a semi-automatic gun and opened fire on a Sikh community in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, as they sang about a universal force that unites all people. Six worshippers were killed. In the months that followed, Americans learned more about Sikhs, a part of the American community for the past 100 years.

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Reweaving the circle of protection

It’s been more than 140 days since sequestration went into effect, cutting $84 billion across the board from government programs this year. It may be difficult to comprehend the effects of that number. However, it is not difficult to comprehend that a child who is undernourished this year could have learning difficulties for the rest of her life—which will hurt her ability to earn enough money to provide for herself and her future children.

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