U.S. President Barack Obama has appointed a Jesuit priest as chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. This is the first time the position will be held by a Catholic priest. He was first appointed to the Commission in 2014 and then re-appointed in 2016, and has now been appointed as its leader. The commission is an independent, bipartisan commission that monitors and reviews religious freedom violations around the world and makes policy recommendations to the Secretary of State, Congress and the President. The commission publishes an annual report based on the religious freedom violations during the previous year. It holds public hearings and conducts fact-finding missions to aid in its efforts.
“I am honored to serve as USCIRF’s Chair and work with my fellow Commissioners in support of freedom of religion or belief,” said Thomas Reese in a statement. “World events underscore the importance of this fundamental right: A key factor in many of the United States’ foreign policy challenges, religious freedom is under serious and sustained attack across much of the globe,” he added.
Reese has served as the senior analyst for the National Catholic Reporter and previously as editor-in-chief of America Magazine, a publication of the Jesuit order. He has also served in various other posts.
The Catholic Church has commandeered the public debates on religious liberty around the world particularly as it relates to social issues, largely wresting the issue from the Seventh-day Adventists who have been largely silent on many key religious liberty issues.
“Under various disguises the Jesuits worked their way into offices of state, climbing up to be the counselors of kings, and shaping the policy of nations.” The Great Controversy, page 235