• Group’s Efforts to Preserve Religious Freedom Imperiled by … ‘Deep State’?

    Surge Summary: A commissioner for the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has left her post over concerns that “deep state” operatives from within the group are undercutting its efforts to preserve religions freedom.

    Here’s the low-down from OneNewsNow’s Steve Jordahl:

    The “deep state” is working to oppose the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, according to one of its commissioners – and she was sufficiently troubled by that claim to recently resign in protest.

    Now-former commissioner Kristina Arriaga says the straw that broke the camel’s back was a bill introduced in the Senate that would have subjected the nine USCIRF commissioners to stifling bureaucracy and potentially put conservative Christians and others in the crosshairs. The bill, introduced in September by Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida), mandated that the Commission monitor the “abuse of religion to justify human rights violations.”

    Arriaga – who had served on the Commission since 2016 – stated in her mid-November resignation that “the move towards more bureaucratic controls has undermined the independence of commissioners to the point I can no longer be an effective advocate for religious freedom.”

    Arriaga charges religious freedom faces a two-fold major threat – some visible, like Russia’s dictatorial Vladimir Putin and Cuba’s now-deceased Fidel Castro; others which are “invisible,” like those on the inside of the USCIRF.

    “… The invisible ones, which are just as insidious [as the visible ones], are bureaucrats who want to limit people’s ability to live according to their deeply held convictions through regulations and through control – and I saw that happen internally at USCIRF,” she tells OneNewsNow.

    She contends those bureaucrats’ overriding focus is to keep their job and maintain the status quo.

    “All nine of us [the USCIRF commissioners], Democrats and Republicans, took on this appointment because we wanted to be disruptive and make a difference. … And the bureaucrats at the Commission did not want that to happen.”

    Acknowledging that most of the staff at USCIRF are good, honorable people, Arriaga, nonetheless, adds it doesn’t take sizable numbers to undermine the work of a group like the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

    “Unfortunately, sometimes freedom dies in the dark corridors of Senate offices that are filled with staff who may or may not be listening to what their bosses are saying,” she laments.

    The commission chairman, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, could not be reached for comment.

    Also see: Congress may set back religious freedom
    (Related Wall Street Journal op-ed by Kristina Arriaga)

    H/T: OneNewsNow’s Steve Jordahl

    Image: Creative Commons; CC by 2.0; Adapted from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mugley/270107


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