Monday, September 26, 2011

Religious Freedom Commission faces defunding

WASHINGTON—The U.S. government’s resources for monitoring international religious freedom are already small and they may get smaller.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), an independent government watchdog for abuses of religious freedom abroad, may cease to exist if the Senate doesn’t act over the weekend to reauthorize it. Congress leaves soon for a weeklong recess, depending on when the House and Senate resolve a spending bill to keep the government functioning, and the commission will shut down Sept. 30 without Senate reauthorization. One Democratic senator is apparently holding up the reauthorization, according to several sources.

If the 13-year-old commission does shut down next Friday (September 30th), Congress could still reauthorize it at any point, but all the commissioners would have to be reappointed and staff rehired—a process that could stall the commission’s work for a year or more. . . .

Read more here and also follow the progress of  HR 2867.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Religious Freedom: Myth and Reality

The debunking of myths ever preoccupies and appeals in these days of great wonder, uncertainty and plain boredom.

Witness just one instance of late from a site that bills itself as Business Insider where it is stated that "The Pilgrims did not come to the New World for religious freedom."

The truth, it seems, is that "becoming too Dutch" was even more horrid to them.

Yes, the "Pilgrims" escaped religious intolerance -- in England -- and yes, they left  -- Amsterdam-- (in part) for fear of their children becoming too Dutch.

However, foremost, above all, and easily overlooked, apparently, is the original impetus for that small, brave band:  The quest for [uncommon] religious tolerance and freedom.