Why a Religious Freedom Ambassador is Needed

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President Barack Obama named a new Ambassador-At-Large for International Religious Freedom this week.

Rev. Suzan Johnson Cook will fill the position. She is a New York City pastor and has also been a chaplain for the New York Police Department.

The New York Times profiled her in 2002 -- calling her "Billy Graham and Oprah rolled into one."

Cook will lead the U.S. State Department efforts to promote religious liberty abroad. Religious freedom advocates had criticized Obama for not filling the position sooner.

CBN News spoke with Tom Farr, author of the book 'World of Faith and Freedom,' about the purpose of a religious freedom ambassador.  Click play for his comments on this and the work the U.S. is doing to tackle religious freedom concerns.

Obama also announced his intent to appoint Judith Fergin to serve as Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, and Felice D. Gaer and William J. Shaw to serve as members of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

"The American people will be well-served by the expertise and commitment these individuals will bring to their important roles. I am grateful they have chosen to join my administration, and I look forward to working with them in the coming months and years." Obama said regarding Tuesday's nominations.

*Originally published June 18, 2010. 


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