Experts Brief Both Clinton and Trump Campaigns on International Religious Freedom

Open Doors USA and the Institute for Global Engagement co-convened a group of individuals and organizations that focus on international religious freedom. The group approached the Clinton and Trump campaigns in order to urge the presidential candidates to put forth their plans of action to address mounting religious persecution around the world. The following is a statement from the two meetings:  

“We, the undersigned, approached both presidential campaigns to have a non-partisan conversation about international religious freedom and presented recommendations. The conversations were wide-ranging, and we were encouraged that both campaigns seem to be in broad support of strengthening international religious freedom. We found both campaigns to be taking this issue—and our recommendations—seriously, particularly our emphasis that the new administration ensure highly qualified people are appointed as the U.S. Department of State Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom and the Special Envoy for Religion and Global Affairs within the first 100 days in office. We expressed our readiness to serve as a resource to both campaigns. No matter the result of the election, there was agreement that the American government, and society, should work to protect all those living under religious oppression and improve our collective effort to deepen and expand religious freedom for all faiths worldwide.”

David Curry, president and CEO, Open Doors USA
Chris Seiple, president emeritus, Institute for Global Engagement
Jennifer Bryson, Center for Islam and Religious Freedom
James Chen, Institute for Global Engagement
Andrew Doran, In Defense of Christians
Thomas Farr, Religious Freedom Institute
Kent Hill, Religious Freedom Institute
Dennis R. Hoover, The Review of Faith & International Affairs
Douglas Johnston, International Center for Religion and Diplomacy
Jo Anne Lyon, Wesleyan Church
Robert Nicholson, Philos Project
Daniel Philpot, University of Notre Dame
Timothy Samuel Shah, Religious Freedom Institute
Kristin Wright, Open Doors USA


A series of recommendations was presented to both campaigns in New York. In addition to encouraging the swift appointment of qualified people to key positions, the group encouraged the next president to implement (and amend where necessary) the existing U.S. Strategy on Religious Leader and Faith Community Engagement worldwide and encourage America’s civil society to participate in these key discussions, among other suggestions.

A complete review of specific recommendations given to each campaign is available online.

About Open Doors USA

For more than 60 years, Open Doors USA has worked in the world's most oppressive and restrictive countries in support of persecuted Christians. Open Doors equips and encourages Christians living in dangerous circumstances with the threat of persecution, and equips the Western church to advocate on their behalf. Christians are one of the most persecuted religious groups in the world and are oppressed in at least 60 countries. For more information, visit OpenDoorsUSA.org.

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