Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Obama Reappoints Religious Freedom Ambassador


(CNN) President Barack Obama has renominated his stalled pick for international religious freedom ambassador, likely extending a controversy over the pick and over the White House’s approach toward religious freedom issues.

Obama first nominated Suzan Johnson Cook, a prominent Christian pastor, to the post in June. But a Senate Foreign Relations Committee vote on her confirmation dragged on until December, as one senator reportedly put a temporarily hold on the nomination.

Obama nominated Cook again on Monday.

Some have faulted the Senate for declining to confirm Cook, while others have criticized the White House over the nomination, saying she lacks the experience for the job and that the administration has shown little urgency in filling the post, which has been vacant for two years.

The position of ambassador at large for international religious freedom was created in 1998, when President Bill Clinton signed the International Religious Freedom Act. The law, which also mandated a commission to  draw up annual reports on the state of religious freedom around the world, sought to make promoting religious freedom a more central goal for U.S. foreign policy. (Read more)

Dr. Cook has a long list of credentials, including a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in New York City, NY.[1] Allow me to tell you about her school.

The Union Theological Seminary is best known for its Communist activity. It is an extremely liberal school, and was funded by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. He helped choose the site for its location, and gave a gift of $1,083,333., which was 25% of the goal that had to be raised. The seminary was founded in 1836 under the Presbyterian Church, and is currently affiliated with nearby Columbia University.

In the book "Billy Graham and His Friends" by Dr. Cathy Davis, she uses a quote from Manning Johnson, a former Communist official, who was the Communist candidate for U.S. Representative from New York 22nd District in 1935. He explains one of the tactics discovered by early Communists, which would destroy religion. It was to infiltrate the Church in influential educational positions. By using this tactic,
"The plan as to make the neck of the funnel through which thousands of potential clergymen would issue forth, carrying with them an ideology and slant which would aid on neutralizing the anti-Communist character of the church, and also use the clergy to spearhead important Communist projects."
 The ecumenical movement depended upon theological seminaries like this one. Wilhelm Pauck, a professor of Church History at Union, wrote that schools like his seminary were important in the development of ecumenical theology. He knew it would shape the future of religious bodies in America.[2]

It is interesting to note that Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a student and also taught for a short time at Union. He brought his views of ecumenism to Union, and they provided to him a broader view of taking ecumenism to the world Church. [3]

Lastly, Union Theological Seminary was prominent in nurturing the World Council of Churches.[4]

It will be interesting to learn what the new Ambassador for Religious Freedom will bring to our country.