flagsWritten by Don Byrd

Religion News Service reports that David Saperstein will be nominated by President Obama to be the next Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom. Saperstein is currently the head of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. If confirmed as Ambassador, he will lead the State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom.

In a statement today, the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty applauded the President’s selection of Saperstein:

Baptist Joint Committee Executive Director Brent Walker enthusiastically applauded the selection. “Rabbi Saperstein brings theological training and legal expertise, valuable experience serving on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, and a passion for religious liberty both in the United States and around the world,” Walker said. “The United States’ commitment to the cause of international religious liberty will be in good hands under Rabbi Saperstein’s tutelage.

“The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and the Baptist Joint Committee have worked in partnership for decades in the fight for religious freedom. Rabbi Saperstein and I served as co-chairs of the Coalition to Preserve Religious Liberty, and, in 2006, Rabbi Saperstein was the inaugural lecturer for the Baptist Joint Committee’s annual Walter B. and Kay W. Shurden Lectures on Religious Liberty and Separation of Church and State,” Walker noted.

In many parts of the world, violent hostility toward religious minorities is on the rise. Promoting international religious freedom today is as daunting a task as it is needed. It is nice to believe in the leaders of such an effort. Here’s hoping for a speedy Senate confirmation and a blessed tenure at the State Department.