"We pray for his boldness and his success as America's newly designated advocate for the religiously oppressed around the world." -- Faith J. H. McDonnell, IRD Religious Liberty Program Director
Contact: Jeff Walton, Institute on Religion and Democracy, 202-682-4131, 202-413-5639 cell, jwalton@TheIRD.org
WASHINGTON, July 29, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced Monday the nomination of Rabbi David Nathan Saperstein for the position of ambassador at large for international religious freedom.
Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, has long been a fixture in Washington, D.C. activist circles. The religious freedom post was vacant for two years until filled by Suzan Johnson Cook in 2011, with some calling into question the administration's commitment to making international religious freedom a priority. Cook departed in October.
Saperstein has served as an appointee to the White House Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and as the first chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), a watchgdog group that functions independently of the U.S. State Department.
IRD Religious Liberty Program Director Faith J. H. McDonnell commented:
"Rabbi David Saperstein has over the decades nearly always aligned politically with liberal Protestant groups and the wider Religious Left. His recent apparent stands against protecting domestic religious freedom on the HHS contraceptive/abortifacient mandate and on LGBTQ advocacy have been unfortunate. But he has long been a tireless defender of international religious freedom for all, including persecuted Christians.
"He likely will bring energy and enthusiasm to his new role. We pray for his boldness and his success as America's newly designated advocate for the religiously oppressed around the world."