In light of President Barack Obama’s words in favor of religious freedom abroad, Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, and Stephen F. Schneck, director of the Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies at The Catholic University of America (CUA), signed on to a letter with a number of evangelical leaders urging the President to defend religious freedom, according to Catholic News Service.
"As you promote religious freedom abroad, please also give attention to preserving the First Amendment freedoms of all Americans here at home,” the letter stated, which was distributed by the National Association of Evangelicals. "Your leadership abroad will be strongest as you point to the robust religious freedom protection that is provided even to those who maybe critics of your administration."
The Obama administration was sued by CUA and the Archdiocese of Washington for the HHS mandate, which compels employers to cover contraceptives, sterilizations, and some abortifacients in employee health plans.
CUA’s Schneck was a member of the group Catholics for Obama in 2012.
The letter applauded Obama’s words in support of persecuted Christians in the Middle East during his remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington in February.
"We applaud your pledge to name a new ambassador at large for international religious freedom in the very near future,” they said. “We urge you to appoint a proven leader with the stature to engage world leaders and to give this person your full support as he or she represents and promotes our government's commitment to religious freedom."
The position, which was created in 1998, has been vacant since late last year.
Rev. Joel C. Hunter, senior pastor of Northland, A Church Distributed, in Florida; Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; and Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, also signed the letter.
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