Katrina Lantos Swett and I have published an op-ed piece in the Moscow Times on issues of religious freedom in Russia. Katrina is President of the Lantos Foundation (named for her late father, Congressman Tom Lantos) and chairs the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, of which I am a member. I had the pleasure of nominating Katrina for the chairmanship. Friend of First Things Mary Ann Glendon is one of our two vice chairmen. Under Katrina’s leadership, the Commission is flourishing. The quality of cooperation across party lines (four of us are Republican-appointees, four are Democrats) is exemplary. We are also blessed with a superb professional staff, led by former Ambassador Jackie Wolcott. We have no jurisdiction to examine domestic religious freedom issues, but the Commission is working hard to ensure that U.S. foreign policy will give priority to supporting religious freedom and fighting religious oppression across the globe.
Speaking for myself, and not for the Commission or in my official capacity as a member, I would point out that domestic failures to respect religious liberty make it more difficult for us to promote religious liberty abroad. The first and most important way for the U.S. government to support religious freedom internationally is by honoring it at home.