70% OF THE WORLD – an astounding 5.3 billion people – are living in countries characterized by religious persecution, discrimination or restrictions. More people are persecuted for their faith now than at any other time in the world’s history.
In order to understand how U.S. legislators prioritize this vital issue, the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative tracks the votes of Members of Congress on key issues of international religious freedom. This makes it easier to know how each representative is voting. The Scorecard tallies international religious freedom-related sponsorship of bills, votes in the House and the Senate and membership in caucuses. Scored items are selected on the basis of their significance to international religious freedom. The International Religious Freedom Congressional Scorecard reports on the 114th session of Congress (2015-2016).
“Having served 34 years in Congress I know that the International Religious Freedom Congressional Scorecard is a much needed tool. I have seen that religious persecution is growing around the world, from the Middle East, where we are seeing the possible end of Christianity in its cradle; to the increased persecution in China of Christians, Buddhists and Uyghur Muslims; to the killing of Christians in Nigeria; to increasing anti-Semitism worldwide. The International Religious Freedom Scorecard will help recognize and encourage Members of Congress who are doing vital and difficult work promoting religious freedom around the globe. Just as important, the Scorecard will inform Americans and help strengthen their voices.”
Frank R. Wolf
Distinguished Senior Fellow, 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative
“The United States has historically been seen as a beacon for religious freedom. I trust that the IRF Congressional Scorecard will help monitor Congress’ performance in standing up for the oppressed religious minorities in every part of the world.”
Author and former Member, Pakistan Parliament
Global Fellow, Wilson Center
PURPOSES OF THE SCORECARD
The purposes of the Scorecard are to help increase congressional and public awareness of international religious freedom issues, to encourage legislators to take bold action in support of this cause, and to laud the work of congressional religious freedom champions to the public.
The need to protect and promote this human right is more critical now than ever. The 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative is hopeful the Scorecard will spur the current Congressional session to more proactively engage the continuing and escalating global religious freedom crisis.
While many advocates have been working endlessly to promote international religious freedom, you can engage by supporting federally elected officials. After viewing your legislators’ scores, here is what you can do:
- Become an informed voter. Know who your federally elected officials are and where they stand on international religious freedom. 21CWI’s Congressional International Religious Freedom Scorecard can help you get started.
- Spread the word. Post links about the Scorecard and your engagement on your social media platforms as a person of influence helping build a groundswell.
- Team up with other advocates. Coordinate with local advocates and/or NGOs to make federally elected officials aware that voters are organizing in their district. Ask other faith leaders in your area to join with you and schedule a joint meeting with your elected official in their district office in order to discuss international religious freedom.
- Stay up-to-date on pending federal legislation. Be sure to read our quarterly Scorecard newsletter with updates about international religious freedom items in the current session of Congress. Then contact your representatives and urge their support.
“This is a critically important initiative. We’re seeing the greatest peril posed to religious freedom since the rise of Nazism and communism.”
International Human Rights Lawyer
Senior Fellow, Center for Religious Freedom, Hudson Institute
“The issue before the world is simple: how do we live with our deep differences when those differences are religious and ideological? There is a way forward. If the world chooses to ignore it, the future will be filled with violence and a cataclysm of which the Middle East is only the harbinger. Or, will America rediscover its leadership on this issue and show the way forward for a vision that is freedom for everyone of every faith?”
Author of “The Global Public Square”
OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES
We hope the Congressional International Religious Freedom Scorecard is a model of proactive engagement for legislators around the world. If you are reading this from outside the United States, we encourage you to discuss with your government officials about how they can work to further this most fundamental of human rights. If you are currently living in a context where religious freedom is being denied, please let us know. If you have suggestions or questions about the Scorecard, contact us.
Current Member or Working for a Member
If you have questions or want additional information on the most critical issues of international religious persecution and how you can be a champion, we would be glad to visit with you. Please send an email and we will respond promptly.
Media / Comments / Speakers Request
If you are a member of the media (print, online, radio or TV), contact us here to discuss the Scorecard or the issues addressed in the Scorecard more fully. Contact us here, also, to schedule a speaker to come and visit with you or your organization.
This site and the content are produced by the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative. The International Religious Freedom Congressional Scorecard is an educational tool and should not be perceived as an effort to support or endorse specific legislators or candidates. The 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative is a Christian 501c3 empowering a global movement to advance religious freedom as a universal right through advocacy, capacity building and technology.