H.R. 1150, or the Frank Wolf International Religious Freedom Act, was adopted by the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday to provide the U.S. government including the State Department new resources and training to fight the increasing incidents of persecution of Christians and anti-Semitism, Charisma News reports.
“My legislation today strengthens our resolve and ensures that every administration integrates and advances religious freedom in its foreign policy objectives and actions,” said author Rep. Chris Smith.
The bill requires that international religious freedom policies must be integrated into national security, immigration, rule of law, and other relevant U.S. foreign policy priorities.
It also creates Designated Persons List of individuals sanctioned for participating or directing religious freedom abuses and expands diplomatic training on international religious freedom for all State Department diplomats.
The measure also establishes in the State Department the Religious Freedom Defense Fund and creates a “tier system” for International Religious Freedom reports on countries of particular concern and a special watch list—similar to the tier system used in the Trafficking in Persons Report.
If it becomes a law, it would authorise the U.S. president to take specified actions against foreign persons responsible for committing or supporting systemic violations of religious freedom, or supporting violence or terrorist acts targeting members of religious groups.
Under the bill, the ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom will report directly to the Secretary of State.
Smith said the world is experiencing a crisis in international religious freedom “that continues to create millions of victims; a crisis that undermines liberty, prosperity and peace; a crisis that poses a direct challenge to the U.S. interests in the Middle East, Russia, China and sub-Saharan Africa.”
• THE LITTLE SISTERS OF THE POOR DEFEND RELIGIOUS FREEDOM AT THE SUPREME COURT — WASHINGTON TIMES