February 27, 2017
CBN: These 2 Get an A+ on Religious Freedom, How Does Your Rep Rank?
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and New Jersey Rep. Chris Smith are America's two top lawmakers when it comes to fighting for international religious freedom, according to a new freedom report card.
The 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative, a Washington, D.C.-based international religious freedom advocacy group, released its first International Religious Freedom Congressional Scorecard for the 114th session of Congress.
The initiative evaluated members based on their sponsorship of key legislation, their votes and caucus work.
More than five billion people in the world face religious persecution according to the initiative, and about one third of all people live in areas where governments or other groups severely restrict religious freedom.
In addition to Rubio and Smith, the scorecard gave 12 other lawmakers, both Republican and Democrat, a grade of A+. It awarded an A grade to 25 other lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
"Results in the scorecard demonstrate that religious freedom issues can transcend the partisan divide," said Randel Everett, president of the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative.
The scorecard notes that most international religious freedom bills pass unanimously or with an overwhelming majority. The challenge is moving a bill to the voting stage.
The Wilberforce initiative cites the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act as a key achievement for the 114th Congress. It increases America's ability to advance religious freedom around the world by enhancing diplomacy, training, counter-terrorism efforts and political responses to violations of religious freedom.
Another key accomplishment includes the declaration by Congress that ISIS atrocities against religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq and Syria constitute war crimes and genocide.