Tuesday, April 17, 2012

ACLU Criticizes Operations of US Commission on International Religious Freedom

The ACLU in a blog posting yesterday charges that the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has failed to operate effectively. The ACLU says in part:
[S]ince its inception, the commission's been beset by controversy. People who watch the commission closely say it was created to satisfy special interests, which has led to bias in the commission's work. Past commissioners and staff have reported that the commission is "rife, behind-the-scenes, with ideology and tribalism." They've said that commissioners focus "on pet projects that are often based on their own religious background." In particular, past commissioners and staff reported "an anti-Muslim bias runs through the Commission's work."
The commissioners' personal biases have led to sharp divides both within the commission and with the State Department, which it is supposed to advise. One expert calls the commission's relationship with the State Department "adversarial," and "not conducive to effective dialogue, let alone cooperation."
The posting goes on to raise questions about two of the recent appointments to the Commission:  Zuhdi Jasser who the ACLU describes as someone who validates manufactured myths about Muslims; and Robert George who has been actively involved in battling against same-sex marriage. (See prior related posting.)