October 28, 2013

Suzan Johnson Cook defends her work on religious freedom and explains why she left

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(RNS5-JUN14) Ambassador-at-Large Suzan Johnson Cook addresses the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva on June 14, 2011. For use with RNS-COOK-UN, transmitted June 14, 2011. RNS photo courtesy U.S. Mission to Geneva.

(RNS5-JUN14) Ambassador-at-Large Suzan Johnson Cook addresses the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva on June 14, 2011. For use with RNS-COOK-UN, transmitted June 14, 2011. RNS photo courtesy U.S. Mission to Geneva.

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WASHINGTON (RNS) The Obama administration's ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom is hoping to make more money in the private sector.

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    Sadly, this administration has been so negligent in standing up for religious freedom and against the persecution and killing of Christians around the world that one could fairly conclude this administration is virtually anti-Christian.

  • Paula

    This makes me unbelievably sad. The money? So that one son who will be an orthopedic surgeon and the other who is matriculating at an Ivy League University won’t have any loans to pay back?

    I guess that means the rest of us who are working in religious institutions and non-profits –doing all sorts of things for the greater good but not getting paid handsomely, –are just dupes, or irresponsible parents. Yes, we’re still paying back our own loans too — though not on the salaries of orthopedic surgeons.

    I had high hopes for Cook, I’ve heard her preach. This dashes them. If she wanted to be an investment banker that’s what she should have become.

  • Lauren Markoe

    Paula, your response seems very unfair. Leaving Suzan Johnson Cook’s decision out of this, I can’t see how helping a child to become a person who can alleviate pain and suffering is a selfish choice. You make it sound like becoming an orthopedic surgeon is like becoming a CEO at a tobacco company. I hope you or someone you love is never on the operating table in need of an orthopedic surgeon. But if you are, I hope you thank that person’s parents, because there’s a good chance they did quite a lot to help that surgeon become the person who can help you.

  • Cynthia Astle

    Paula, I second Lauren Markoe’s response. I interviewed Rev. Suzan Johnson Cook when she was appointed ambassador for The Progressive Christian magazine. One of the character traits that came through clearly was her entrepreneurial spirit. She founded and ran both churches and businesses during her active pulpit ministry, and she comes from an African-American background in which education is the key to a life of service and satisfaction. Her desire for her sons to have such lives should be commended, not condemned. IMHO.

    Yes, I wish she had been able to do more with her position, but I think that’s more the fault of the institution into which she was asked to fit than to her own skills. Diplomacy is more about a soft word spoken at the right time and place than about a grand show of umbrage and/or force. It is a quite different arena from the pulpit. So I think we should wish Dr. Sujay “godspeed” and thank her for her service.

  • JB Smith

    Read “A Note on Uberveillance” by M. D. Michael. Newport News Police and Virginia State Police had Dr. Lawrence Chang implant me w/o my knowledge and consent. It enables torture. They use it as a sensor and pulse energy projectiles at you. I had a heart attack. It enables voice to skull communication. See Safeguards in a World of Ambient Intelligence by Springer page 9. See Mental Health and Terrorism by Amin Gadit. See Bio Initiative Report 2012. See Forbes.com and search Brandon Raub. Law enforcement tases citizens into “excited delirium” (see at nij.org) to make them act in ways they normally would not. There are 3 reasons to have it implanted 1) mental health, 2) criminal record, and 3) infectious disease. All the mass shootings are the work of law enforcement. They want to take away your right to bear arms and make America a police state. They torture people into a state of what the national institute of justice calls “excited delirium.” People are suddenly going crazy, they’re being tortured.

  • Bob Evans

    The article quotes a Reform (!?) rabbi as including “secular sources” among the threats to religious freedom worldwide. Perhaps the rabbi is not aware that secularists — whom he presumably identifies with atheists, humanists, skeptics and agnostics — are themselves among the world’s most persecuted minorities.
    In seven countries, atheism (obviously if professed openly) is a capital offence as is “abandoning the faith”. In many other countries, using the Internet or any other public forum to discuss atheism and reason is a criminal offence. A recent report by the International Humanist and Ethical Union gives many details. For me, the real failing of this U.S. ambassador and her predecessors is not in her alleged low-key defence of religion but in their failure to speak up for the full range of freedoms of “religion and belief” as prescribed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Contrast this to the strong stance against ALL persecution based on both religion and belief taken by the United Nations’ special rapporteur, Heiner Bielefeldt. And he is a Catholic theologian!

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  • Fathy

    I think that the USA is in a difficult position to deal with islamist creating chaos in all the Middle East and killing Christians as they consider them unbeleivers of ««mohammed as prophet»USA does not want to upset the Saoudi because of the Petrol so killing some of the 20 millions in Egypt to keep peace is the price to have the flow coming in..Hope they realise their wrong doing.Coptic Christians are essential for the economy of Egypt
    they have the knowledge and the skills and are more educated and respected by many moslems.

  • Lauren Markoe

    He was merely distinguishing between religionist-based threats to religious freedom vs. non-religionist threats, for eg., the Chinese government, as opposed to people who hold a secular world view.

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  • She was better paid than most of us, and frankly, when someone describes them self as the president’s spiritual adviser….you know they aren’t.

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