This issue came to my attention, via an article in Foreign Policy. Here is an excerpt from that piece:
Almost one and a half years into its term, the Obama administration still has yet to even announce the nomination of an IRF Ambassador (as the position is known in the State Department lexicon). In recent months, a growing chorus of disparate voices — including Members of Congress, a bipartisan and multi-faith group of religious leaders and human rights activists, an government commission, an independent study task force, and scholars such as my former colleague Tom Farr here in the pages of Foreign Policy — have all urged the administration to move expeditiously in finally filling the position after 16 months of vacancy. Even if a nominee is announced soon, it could be many more months until the ambassador is sworn in, depending on the vicissitudes of the Senate confirmation schedule. It may well be that President Obama reaches the halfway mark of his term without an IRF ambassador on board.
As the article goes on to state, President Obama has certainly had the time to fill the IRF spot. A plethora of other positions have been filled. At this point in the presidency, a big question mark is beginning to appear: Why is the President ignoring International Religious Freedom? Consider this troubling remark from the Foreign Policy article:
In perhaps the ultimate indicator of bureaucratic neglect of religious freedom, the IRF ambassador-at-large position does not even appear on the State Department’s organization chart — even though every other ambassador-at-large position can be found there.
President Obama has appointed a special envoy to Muslim communities and a dedicated representative to Eurasion energy, but it appears that he is blatantly ignoring International Religious Freedom. The American people–and the suffering peoples of the world–should be told why.
Here is the message that I posted in the Contact Us section of the White House website. I hope that you will take a minute to do the same.
Why is this administration stalling on the appointment of an International Religious Freedom Ambassador?
Do you not consider this issue important? It is beginning to seem that way.
Consider Aijalon Mahli Gomes, languishing in a North Korean gulag for the grave crime of Christianity.
Religious freedom was instrumental in the foundation of our country. How can you ignore it now?
This topic is of considerable importance. As I said in my remark to the White House, the issue of Religious Freedom was instrumental in the founding of the United States of America. It is not an irrelevant issue in the quest for and maintenance of freedom–it is, rather, a core concern.
May God bless you, may God bless America and may God give President Barack Hussein Obama a swift kick in the arse. The President’s rhetoric frames him as a protector of human dignity and human rights. Let us hope that his actions, as leader of the greatest free country on the planet, begin to show that concern.