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NOM Co-Founder to Head Commission on Religious Freedom

Jim Burroway

July 25th, 2013

Robert George has been selected to head the US Commission on International Religious Freedom. According to a press release issued Tuesday:

Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University and a Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School, was elected today as Chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).  Professor George was appointed to the Commission in 2012 by Speaker of the House John Boehner and is serving his first term as a Commissioner.

Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett, USCIRF’s outgoing Chair and an appointee of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, announced Professor George’s selection. “I have been honored to work alongside Professor George this past year in the struggle to guarantee religious freedom abroad for people of every faith and shade of belief.  He is a true human rights champion whose compassion for victims of oppression and wisdom about international religious freedom shine through all we have accomplished this past year. Our bipartisan Commission is united in its admiration for Professor George’s skills as an advocate and leader of the international religious freedom movement. The Commission is eager to continue its work under his able leadership.”

George, who co-founded the National Organization for Marriage and is one of the key authors of the Federal Marriage Amendment and the Manhattan Declaration, was first appointed by House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to the commission last year. In 2009, George signed a letter which mildly criticized Uganda’s proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill (a.k.a. the “Kill the Gays” Bill) but tacitly approved jail terms for LGBT people. He has recently said that he would vow to defy any “man-made laws” which conflicts with his view of what he thinks God wants. AFter the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, George called on the American people to “rise up” in a “national rebellion.” George has been a part of a growing number of voices among anti-gay extremists who claim that any advance in human rights for LGBT people represents an infringement on religious freedom. He now has a powerful platform to take that message abroad.

In 2010 George published the article “What Is Marriage?” in The Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, which BTB’s Rob Tisinai critiqued at length in a series of posts. You can access those critiques here.

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Richard Rush
July 25th, 2013 | LINK

George is nothing more than a papal ass-kissing Catholic supremacist bigot who is smart enough, knowledgeable enough, and clever enough to masquerade as an intellectual heavyweight to bring himself prestige and money. It landed him the position of McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University, along with other notable positions/”honors,” including the latest – USCIRF Chair.

I doubt that George has any real interest in religious freedom beyond enabling the Roman Catholic Church’s “freedom” to recapture and expand its divinely ordained right to sovereignty throughout the world.

Timothy Kincaid
July 25th, 2013 | LINK

I wonder why any politician of any stripe would appoint to a panel of any stature a man who has no respect for the rule of law and who calls for rebellion and an uprising if he doesn’t get his way.

Lord_Byron
July 25th, 2013 | LINK

It does not surprise me that the religious right would appoint a man to a committee on religious freedom who only wants religious freedom for his own religious views.

jerry
July 25th, 2013 | LINK

Timothy, it doesn’t surprise me at all that he was appointed by John Boehner. he’s as much a bigot as all of the others who believe it is their duty to stuff their religious clap trap down everyone’s throat.

Steve
July 25th, 2013 | LINK

That commission has always been a joke that is only interested in the rights of Christians. Preferably fundamentalist ones.

Scott Rose
July 25th, 2013 | LINK

Jesus fucking Christ! Robert George’s anti-gay hate group has held rallies where preachers yell through megaphones that homosexuals are worthy to death.

Regan DuCasse
July 25th, 2013 | LINK

You all said exactly what I wanted to. “International Religious Freedom”? Religion is something that is practiced by a huge majority of the world’s populations.
Meaning religious belief and practice, worship and expression IS allowed.
So there is religious freedom.
The problem is, there are many people in the world that don’t have much freedom FROM religious abuse.
Mainly females and the gender variant.
No doubt George’s agenda is to try to incur Christianity wherever he can.
Truth Wins Out has reported that a brand of coffee, called Courage is going to be sold and the farmers in countries like Uganda, Kenya and other areas will participate in the church in exchange for funding their farms and processing of the coffee.
This investment is going through one of NOM’s branch organizations.
It’s missionary work actually in a vulnerable country, where gays and lesbians are threatened the most.
Although the orgs spokesmen said that these countries haven’t been so welcoming to their message and Christian outreach at times, they are still going to try.
What arrogance. They can’t just have a stand up agricultural exchange. They can’t just do it because these farmers can produce a valuable LEGAL commodity that could improve their lives.
No.
They have to become Christians in order to get this interest.
And they have to embrace a religious belief that would make them turn on gays and lesbians contra to their cultural heritage in which they’d never done that before.
Again.
See why missionaries sicken me?

Timothy Kincaid
July 25th, 2013 | LINK

Regan,

In much of the world, there is not freedom to religious belief and practice.

In Muslim nations, for example, the practice of Judaism or Christianity is not infrequently either oppressed or – in some cases – prohibited. In some European countries there are either legal or cultural restrictions on wearing garments that are associated with Islamic practice.

And if you want some clear examples: Germany bans Scientology, Jews in Israel can only marry according to the rules of Orthodox Judaism, in Saudi Arabia the public practice of any religion other than Islam is prohibited. For more examples, see the State Department report.

Religious freedom is not the freedom to practice a religion, it’s the freedom to practice your religion. It’s not as common as you might imagine.

Tor
July 25th, 2013 | LINK

Is Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett seriously misinformed?

“the struggle to guarantee religious freedom abroad for people of every faith and shade of belief” does not sound anything like the Robert George I have been reading about.

etseq
July 25th, 2013 | LINK

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has been a joke since it was formed 15 years ago by Congress in an attempt to undercut the Department of State in foreign policy. It has been a highly politicized body from the start and was colonized by right wing evangelicals in the Bush years.

One reason is it so highly politicized and captured by special interests is that the appointment process is ripe for abuse. Under its enabling statute, each of the following gets to appoint 3 members each without any independent confirmation process: President, President Pro Tempore of the Senate, two of which must be approved by the Party leader opposite of the President and Speaker of the House, also two of which must be approved by the Party leader opposite of the President.

So, John Boehner appoints Robbie as pay back to the right wing christians, etc. with no confirmation process whatsoever.

It is basically a do nothing bastard child created by Congress to annoy the State Department since it is not officially part of either the executive, legislative or judicial branches. Technically, it “advises” the State department but unlike the rest of the State Department, it is not subject to the President’s authority like every other part of the executive branch. If it were, the President would make appointments and the Senate would confirm. State hates it because it is constantly trying to meddle in foreign affairs by issuing reports critical of foreign nations without any vetting by State.

Check out an ACLU report from last year:

http://www.aclu.org/blog/religion-belief-national-security-lgbt-rights/look-us-commission-international-religious

PS – I can’t wait for Robbie to start declaring the UK, France, Netherlands, etc. as enemies of “religious freedom”
—jimmy green

Regan DuCasse
July 25th, 2013 | LINK

Correction, the name brand of the coffee is Thomas Street.

Regan DuCasse
July 25th, 2013 | LINK

I know Timothy. I realized too late that I meant to say I agree that there is little religious DIVERSITY in the world.
Sorry I didn’t articulate that as well as I wanted to.

But there can be extremes in any religious communities, and the fear (and rightly) is that what some call religious freedom, sensible people call religious abuse.
Look at the howl coming from people because of marriage equality. They aren’t being abused, but they insist their freedoms are being damaged, even when they aren’t.
However, George isn’t going to support that.
And in reality, there is much religious abuse directed at females and the gender variant. These are the most vulnerable and always have been.

MattNYC
July 26th, 2013 | LINK

Is it just me or is George actually Scalia’s alter ego? Richard’s description could easily be applied to Execrable Antonin.

Hue-Man
July 26th, 2013 | LINK

Talibangelical ideologues all profess the need for smaller government then steal tax dollars from citizens to fund extreme anti-gay organizations.

“An evangelical organization that describes homosexuality as a “perversion” and a “sin” is receiving funding [$544,813] from the Government of Canada for its work in Uganda, where gays and lesbians face severe threats.” http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/02/10/crossroads-christian-communications_n_2658076.html

Why not steal $5 MILLION instead? “Of all the Conservatives’ initiatives to date, the most bewildering is its newly created Office for the Promotion of Religious Freedom. The Tories are deploying five million dollars of taxpayers’ money — ostensibly to promote not a particular religion, but the freedom to practice religion in general. Not in Canada, mind you, but around the world, in places from Turkey to Tibet.” http://www.ipolitics.ca/2013/02/21/why-an-office-of-religious-freedom-god-only-knows/

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