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Open Doors USA among Signers of Letter to President Obama Urging Ambassador Appointment

by Staff
April 6, 2010
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SANTA ANA, Calif., ( -- Open Doors USA is among 25 organizations and individuals who have signed a letter to President Obama urging him to immediately fill the vacant position of U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom. The letter was delivered to President Obama last week.

The ambassadorship, created by law in 1998, has remained empty since the beginning of the Obama Administration over 15 months ago, though it is critical to the promotion of religious freedom in U.S. foreign policy, according to the signatories of the letter. The group requests that the administration make it an urgent priority to fill the position with a person who is an expert in both religion and foreign policy. Additionally, they urged the President to adhere to the legislation by appointing an ambassador who reports directly to the Secretary of State, as do other ambassadors-at-large.

"This letter demonstrates the broad support from people of many faiths, including Muslims, Jews, Tibetans, Sikhs, and Christians , who all recognize the importance of appointing a qualified Ambassador for International Religious Freedom to promote religious freedom worldwide," says Open Doors USA Director of Advocacy Lindsay Vessey. "This letter goes a step further and calls on President Obama to make the necessary structural changes to the position so that the ambassador has the necessary tools and ability to integrate religious freedom into U.S. foreign policy. Considering the many complex diplomatic issues in countries such as Iran, North Korea and China, it is important that our foreign policy include an understanding of the role of religion in these issues both for national security and to better protect this right for people on a global scale."

A recent report from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life states that 70 percent of the world's population lives in countries with a high or very high degree of restrictions on religion.

To view a copy of the letter to the President, go to

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