July 11, 2019, Washington, D.C. — The Religious Freedom Institute (RFI) continues to grow and make important organizational changes to become even more well-positioned to advance religious freedom for everyone, everywhere.
Dr. Eric Patterson recently joined RFI as its Executive Vice President. He comes to RFI from the Robertson School of Government at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia where he was dean and tenured full professor.
July 10, 2019, Washington, D.C. — RFI applauds the collapse of California Senate Bill (SB) 360, a bill that would have required Catholic clergy to violate the seal of confession. Such a mandate would have deprived the Catholic Church of its right to the free exercise of religion by encroaching upon a core tenet of its sacramental theology.
June 28, 2019, Washington, D.C.— The U.S. Department of State recently released its 2018 Report on International Religious Freedom highlighting the many threats to religious freedom globally, and the need to take action to protect this fundamental right for every person. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also announced the elevation of the Office of International Religious Freedom within the State Department. This announcement comes ahead of the second annual Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, July 16-18.
June 24, 2019, Washington, D.C. — The United States Supreme Court held on Thursday that the Bladensburg Cross, a forty-foot cross honoring World War I veterans on public land in Maryland, does not violate the Constitution’s prohibition of established religion.
The Court’s decision, issued in the case of American Legion v. American Humanist Association, relied on American tradition and history to hold that monuments with religious meaning on public land do not run afoul of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause so long as they follow the Founders’ tradition of “respect and tolerance for differing views, an honest endeavor to achieve inclusivity and nondiscrimination.”
The John Templeton Foundation has awarded a $1.7 million grant to the Religious Freedom Institute (RFI) to lead a first-of-its-kind international inquiry into the meaning and impact of institutional religious freedom.
April 23, 2019, Washington, D.C. — The Religious Freedom Institute (RFI) today denounced the horrific attacks on innocent people in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday. This series of coordinated bombings at three churches, four hotels, and a housing complex took nearly 300 lives.
“The mass shootings at the Al Noor and Linwood mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand represent the worst form of evil imaginable,” said Timothy Shah, head of RFI’s South and Southeast Asia Action Team. “This act of terrorism is an offense against human dignity and religious freedom. All ideologies that foster or sanction such acts must be condemned in the strongest possible terms.”
Last month the Religious Freedom Institute (RFI) sent aletter to Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, calling for the removal of “Smart Pakem,” an app available on the Google Play Store. The Indonesian government created the app to enable mobile phone users to report individuals suspected of “religious heresy.”
While Google has yet to respond to the letter, or remove the app, it recently joined Apple in “promising to investigate a Saudi app that lets men control women's travel,” according to a recent report. Google should treat Smart Pakem with the same degree of scrutiny.
The Religious Freedom Institute (RFI) has relocated its Washington, D.C. office to the heart of Capitol Hill. The new address is 316 Pennsylvania Ave, SE, Suite 501, Washington, D.C. 20003.
RFI commemorated its move to the historic National Capital Bank building on Pennsylvania Avenue with an open house Wednesday attended by 200 friends and colleagues from government, business, media, higher education, and the NGO community.
The Religious Freedom Institute (RFI) welcomes the U.S. Department of State’s recent announcement that it will host a second consecutive Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom July 16-18, 2019.
“We are grateful for Secretary Pompeo’s commitment to advancing religious freedom around the world,” said Thomas Farr, President of RFI and founding Director of the State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom.
The Religious Freedom Institute (RFI) today issued a report, “Hanging by a Thread: Christians and Other Religious Minorities Are Fading into History on the Nineveh Plains.”
The report, based on a trip to Iraq’s Nineveh Plains last month, outlines the dire conditions in northern Iraq for Christians, Yazidis, and other religious minorities. The report underscores the profound security and economic challenges religious minorities face in Sinjar and the Nineveh Plains and points to a looming threat to both Iraqi and American security.
Four years after ISIS laid siege to ethnic and religious minority communities in Iraq and Syria, the U.S. Congress voted unanimously late today to fund humanitarian, stabilization, and recovery assistance for victims of genocide. The bipartisan legislation will go to the President’s desk for signing before the end of the year.
The Religious Freedom Institute (RFI) welcomes the decision by Pakistan’s Supreme Court to vacate the conviction and death sentence of a Christian woman convicted of blasphemy. The woman, Asia Bibi, was convicted in 2010 of insulting the Prophet of Islam during an argument with her neighbors.
The Religious Freedom Institute applauds the successful conclusion of the three-day Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, hosted by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback. The remarkable gathering of government and civil society representatives from across the world drove home the brutal nature of international religious persecution, and was marked by historic multilateral commitments to do more to stop it.