Home Diocese House OKs Bill Allowing more ways to Protect Religious Freedom Worldwide

House OKs Bill Allowing more ways to Protect Religious Freedom Worldwide

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WASHINGTON (CNS) — The U.S. House May 16 unanimously passed the Frank Wolf International Religious Freedom Act, giving the Obama administration and the U.S. State Department new resources to combat what the bill’s bipartisan supporters say is “a worldwide escalation” of Christian persecution and anti-Semitism. U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-New Jersey, was the author of the bill named for former U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, a Republican who represented Virginia’s 10th Congressional District from 1981 to 2015. According to Smith, more than 20 years ago, Wolf “had the foresight to make advancing the right to religious freedom a high U.S. foreign policy priority. Today religious freedom is still under attack and we must upgrade our programs and methods to meet the challenges of the 21st century,” said Smith, who has held more than a dozen hearings on religious freedom. The newly approved measure, also known as H.R. 1150, requires that international religious freedom policies be integrated into national security, immigration, rule of law and other relevant U.S. foreign policy priorities; creates a “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.