The usually prolix US Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois has been strangely silent over his reported and unacknowledged single-handed blocking of the re-funding of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) according to persecution.org.
The USCIRF has according to christianpost.com been given a “stay of execution” for a few weeks.
Religious persecution is a world-wide problem, and the USCIRF has made this problem very visible, to the chagrin of those who persecute others for their religious beliefs, such as the governments of China, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Eritrea, North Korea, Sudan, Iran, Vietnam, and several others. What could possibly be Senator Durbin’s interest in silencing USCIRF? I do hope this isn’t a case of killing the messenger, or of valuing the influence of persecuting governments more than a fundamental human freedom.
While naturally the religious press has covered this story, very few non-religious media sources have: a sad commentary on how religious freedom apparently doesn’t matter any more to the Fourth Estate. One would never guess that the First Amendment provides freedom for both the press and religion, for assembly and speech, and that somehow all these might be fundamentally linked.
Or perhaps the problem is that USCIRF Commissioner Nina Shea has courageously been doing her job for the past several years, and has been letting the chips fall where they may in terms of revealing religious persecution. Or maybe the vexation is about Ms. Shea’s recent book co-authored with Paul Marshall, Silenced: How Apostasy and Blasphemy Codes Are Choking Freedom Worldwide. Since people in several countries are facing the death penalty for apostasy and blasphemy, such as Asia Bibi in Pakistan, does Senator Durbin fear revealing these offenses against human freedom? Why his reported weeks of secrecy on this issue?
So it mystifies me why the press isn’t covering this story. Senator Durbin’s silence is like unto “man bites dog.”
© Copyright 2011, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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