Evangelical Leader Notes Wide Support for International Religious Freedom Ambassador as State Department Releases IRF Report Today

WASHINGTON, May 20, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ — The Rev. Dr. Rob Schenck (pronounced “Shank”), president of the Washington-based National Clergy Council and chairman of the Evangelical Church Alliance International, will be present at the State Department today when Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, the Rev. Dr. Suzan D. Johnson-Cook, releases her department’s Annual Report on International Religious Freedom for 2012.

“The constituencies I represent are very much looking forward to the report by Ambassador Johnson-Cook,” the Rev. Schenck said. “Since she assumed her post, we have seen the largest numbers and widest spectrum of evangelical leaders and groups enthusiastically support the Office of International Religious Freedom. We’re very pleased with the work of Ambassador Johnson-Cook and commend the White House for its selection of her.

“Many of us in the evangelical community feel more is being done now by the Office of International Religious Freedom than at any time since its creation by the Congress in 1998,” the Rev. Schenck continued. “This office is one of a very few in this administration where evangelicals are overwhelmingly supportive and fully engaged. We say ‘bravo’ and ‘God bless you’ to Ambassador Johnson-Cook.”

The Rev. Schenck expressed concern for the plight of U.S. pastor Saeed Abedini, who was sentenced to eight years in prison in Iran for his Christian humanitarian work there. The Rev. Schenck has urged Secretary of State Kerry to use the broad coalition that Ambassador Johnson-Cook has built to advocate for Abedini’s release, as well as for the release of other similar victims of religious persecution in Iran and in other countries.

The Rev. Schenck continued: “I have asked tens of thousands of my constituents to pray for Ambassador Johnson-Cook and to continue their support of her good work, which is unprecedented in any Presidential administration.”


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