Press Release Oct 25, 2007

SBC’s Richard Land named to U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom for 4th term

WASHINGTON—Dr. Richard Land, president of The Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, has been appointed to a fourth term on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky reappointed Land to a two-year term on the nine-person panel. The action was made official Oct. 22, when it appeared in the Congressional Record.

Land, a USCIRF vice chair, called the reappointment “an honor and a privilege.”

“The tremendously important work of the commission should inspire all Americans,” Land said. “The commission has taken up the cause of religious freedom and the plight of the persecuted across the globe on behalf of the American people. It is one of the most inspiring things that I’ve been privileged to do in public service.

“I also want to thank Senator McConnell for the confidence he has placed in me by using his appointive power to name me to another term on the commission. I am both grateful and humbled by the senator’s confidence and selection,” he said.

President Bush previously appointed Land to a two-year term in 2001, followed by a one-year term. Land was off the commission for less than a year before being renamed to USCIRF for two years in 2005 by then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee.

USCIRF Chair Michael Cromartie said the commissioners “are delighted to continue working with” Land, whom he described as “certainly among the religious leaders most committed to advancing the freedom of religion.”

Land “has consistently brought both his formidable commitment and down-to-earth powers of persuasion to bear positively on our work as a commission,” Cromartie said in a written release.

USCIRF, which is a nonpartisan panel appointed by the president and members of Congress, researches the status of religious liberty in other countries and provides reports and recommendations to the White House and legislators. The president selects three members of the commission, while congressional leaders name the other six. The State Department’s ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom serves as a non-voting member of the panel.

p(notes). The Southern Baptist Convention is America’s largest non-Catholic denomination with more than 16.3 million members in over 44,000 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.

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