WASHINGTON, Feb. 3, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- International religious freedom champion and former Congressman Frank R. Wolf and the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative (21CWI) are announcing a new International Religious Freedom Congressional Scorecard. This educational tool will both keep Congress apprised of opportunities to support religious freedom, and keep Members accountable by grading them on their international religious freedom (IRF) work. Scored items will include membership in relevant caucuses as well as votes, sponsorship, and co-sponsorship of bills and resolutions supporting IRF.
During a news conference at the National Press Club here yesterday, a panel of IRF leaders described the need for the Scorecard. The panel included Os Guinness, British author, social critic and founder of The Trinity Forum; Farahnaz Ispahani, journalist, scholar and former member of Pakistan's National Assembly; and Nina Shea, Director, Center for Religious Freedom at the Hudson Institute in Washington.
"This is a critically important initiative," said Ms. Shea. "We're seeing the greatest peril posed to religious freedom since the rise of Nazism and communism."
The panelists noted the religious persecution facing 5.5 billion people globally, including the erosion of religious liberty in the United States.
"My concern is not only religious freedom around the world, but the lack of leadership on this issue which has been America's birthright," Mr. Guinness said. "As I see it, America is squandering a great heritage. That's why I welcome this particular Scorecard initiative."
Twice yearly publication of the Scorecard, mid-term and year-end, provides legislators with an opportunity to review items on the Scorecard and choose to support more items prior to final publication, which raises their scores and improves protection of religious freedom.
"The United States has historically been seen as a beacon for religious freedom," Ms. Ispahani said. "I trust that the Scorecard will help monitor Congress' performance in standing up for the oppressed religious minorities in every part of the world."
Rep. Wolf noted that the Scorecard will educate the American public on this issue, and give duly needed credit to Members who work hard for religious liberty.
"I know that the scorecard is a much-needed tool that will help recognize and encourage members of Congress who are doing vital and difficult work promoting religious freedom around the globe," stated Rep. Wolf. "Just as important, the scorecard will inform Americans and help strengthen their voices to support the cause of religious freedom in the House and Senate."
Please direct press inquiries to: Lou Ann Sabatier, Communications Director, 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative, (703) 216-2941 Lsabatier@21wilberforce.org
SOURCE 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative