Russell D. Moore Suggests President Obama Nominate Rep. Frank Wolf as Religious Freedom Ambassador

U.S. Representative Frank R. Wolf

The Southern Baptist Convention’s lead advocate for religious liberty has urged President Obama to name quickly an ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, and he has offered a nominee for the position.

In a letter Tuesday (July 15), Russell D. Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), called on Obama to act “without further delay” to fill the ambassador-at-large position, which has been vacant since October of last year. He recommended the president consider nominating a Republican, Rep. Frank Wolf of Virginia, to the post.

While “many skilled diplomats and leaders” are qualified for the ambassadorship, Wolf “stands out among them with experience, credibility, competence, and a passion for this issue,” Moore wrote.

Wolf, who is not running for re-election to the House of Representatives this year, is widely considered Congress’ leading advocate for global religious liberty. Wolf, 75, will retire at the end of this term after serving 34 years as a congressman from northern Virginia.

In his letter to the president, Moore described Wolf as “a tireless and unparalleled advocate for persecuted religious minorities. No one has done more in fighting for human rights and the protection of religious minorities [than Wolf].”

The ERLC president told Obama nominating someone from outside his party would send a valuable message.

“I think this move across the aisle, of a Republican ambassador serving a Democratic president, would be a signal to the American people that international religious freedom should be of concern to all Americans, regardless of political party or political ideology,” Moore wrote. “[Wolf’s nomination] would be a signal to the world that passion for human rights is of key importance to the United States of America.”

Suzan Johnson Cook resigned as the ambassador-at-large nine months ago.

The failure to replace Cook has discouraged religious liberty advocates from both major political parties, Moore told the president. Obama’s failure to name an ambassador-at-large for more than two years at the start of his first term had the same effect, Moore said.

“The continual delay of a nomination communicates an indifference to the cause of religious freedom around the world on the part of the United States,” he said.

Moore’s letter proposing the congressman’s nomination came less than a week after victories for two pieces of legislation Wolf has championed.

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SOURCE: Baptist Press
Tom Strode

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