WASHINGTON D.C., Dec. 16, 2016—Dr. Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, responded to passage of the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act by President Barack Obama today.
“The passage of the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act shows a strong coalition working together for the cause of international religious freedom. The bipartisan nature of this passage shows us that religious freedom does not have to be a partisan issue but is rooted in our deepest commitments as Americans, and I hope that persecuted religious minorities around the globe will see that they have not been forgotten. While the passage of this act by no means solves the religious freedom crisis around the world, it is a step in the right direction.”
This Act amends the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 and promotes religious freedom globally as a part of U.S. foreign policy.
The new law provides a number of modernization tools to the Department of State’s Office of International Religious Freedom and elevates the office as a higher priority inside the diplomacy agency. The many updates include the ability to declare non-state actors (i.e., ISIS, Boko Haram) violators of the core human right and the ability to invoke sanctions against non-state entities who either persecute or tolerate persecution of those on the basis of religious belief.
The Southern Baptist Convention is America’s largest Protestant denomination with more than 15.2 million members in over 46,000 churches nationwide. The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission is the SBC’s ethics, religious liberty and public policy agency with offices in Nashville, Tenn., and Washington, D.C.