Barack Obama this week selected Rabbi David Saperstein to fill a spot at the top of the Department of State’s Office of Religious Freedom. He must now face a Senate confirmation vote before accepting the position of International Religious Freedom ambassador-at-large.
“I am grateful that Rabbi Saperstein has chosen to dedicate his talent to serving the American people at this important time for our country,” Obama asserted. “I look forward to working with him in the months and years ahead.”
The position has remained vacant for nearly a year following the resignation of the Rev. Suzan Johnson Cook last October. As USA Today reports, the significant delay in naming a successor has led many to question Obama’s support for a religious freedom ambassadorship.
Not only is the Jewish leader and attorney the first person nominated for the position outside of the Christian faith, Saperstein also holds some views about religious freedom that some Americans might find disconcerting.
He has served as a board member on far-left organizations including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and People For the American Way. Despite playing a role in the passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, he has also spoken out against a recent Supreme Court decision that used the law to defend the religious objection some business owners have toward ObamaCare’s contraception mandate.
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Just after the high court ruled that Hobby Lobby – along with other closely held corporations – may reject the federal requirement forcing businesses to provide what some consider abortion-inducing drugs, he spoke out firmly against the decision.
“We believe deeply in RFRA and robust religious liberties,” he began, though he contended that the Supreme Court took that idea too far by applying it to businesses.
“We believe the court was wrong in saying there are religious claims corporations can make,” he said. “Corporations don’t have souls or consciences the way that people or associations of like-minded people do.”
His statement echoes the sentiment expressed by others in the Obama administration who believe religious liberty should not extend to business owners.
Photo Credit: Flickr/World Economic Forum
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