International religious freedom issues can transcend partisan divide in Congress

WASHINGTON – International religious freedom issues are growing in urgency and importance worldwide. It is against this backdrop that today 21Wilberforce released the 115th Congress Interim International Religious Freedom Congressional Scorecard. The intent of the Scorecard is to increase congressional awareness of international religious freedom issues, to encourage legislators to take bold action in support of this cause, and to publicly recognize the work of religious freedom champions in Congress.

“The need to protect and promote religious freedom is more critical now than ever. I am hopeful the Interim International Religious Freedom Congressional Scorecard will spur the 115th Congress to more proactively address the continuing and escalating religious freedom crisis worldwide,” said former Congressman Frank Wolf, Distinguished Senior Fellow at 21Wilberforce.

Members were evaluated on their public engagement with international religious freedom based on their sponsorship of bills, resolutions, and amendments, as well as related caucus work and votes in the Senate and the House. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Representative Eliot Engel (D-NY) earned the top scores for the 115th Congress Interim IRF Scorecard. In addition, 48 legislators (28 Democrats and 20 Republicans) are recognized as “Notable Leaders” for the first year of the 115th Congress. Results in this Scorecard demonstrate that international religious freedom issues can transcend the partisan divide.

“The Interim IRF Congressional Scorecard has an incredibly important story to tell,” said Katrina Lantos Swett, President of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights & Justice. “As religious freedom abuses have proliferated around the world, America’s efforts to advocate for this bedrock human right have not kept pace. This vital tool tells us who in our Congress is leaning forward in defense of the First Freedom and who is leaning back. This is information we need to know so that all of us can better protect the conscience rights of people around the globe.”

A project of 21Wilberforce, the International Religious Freedom Congressional Scorecard is an educational tool and should not be perceived as an effort to support or endorse specific legislation or candidates. The International Religious Freedom Scorecard can be read online or downloaded at: