Found this via Drudge:
(CNSNews.com) – Ten days before its temporary authorization is due to expire, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom on Tuesday moved ahead with preparations for a permanent shutdown, while expressing hope that its tenure may yet be extended.
The USCIRF’s nine commissioners adopted a resolution outlining the steps the body is obliged to take to prepare for “orderly and financially solvent closure,” saying it had been informed by the Government Services Administration of the need to do so in accordance with applicable federal laws and regulations.
The measures include preserving and archiving all commission records, determining where they will be kept, and making arrangements to transfer them once the USCIRF expires.
Since its creation under the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act, the USCIRF has served as an independent body advising the executive and legislative branches on promoting religious freedom around the world as a foreign policy priority – not always seeing eye-to-eye with the State Department in the process.
Its work has won praise around the world – not least of all from victims of religious persecution – and numerous religious freedom advocacy groups have voiced deep concern about its future.
The House of Representatives last September passed a bill authorizing the USCIRF for another two years, a 391-21 vote reflecting the importance members of both parties ascribe to the promotion of religious freedom.
But the measure has been held up in the Senate, the subject of a hold attributed in published reports to Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).
Two continuing resolutions to fund the federal government, passed by Congress in October and November, temporarily covered USCIRF authorization. The latter continuing resolution expires on Dec. 16.
In its resolution Tuesday, the USCIRF spelled out the situation it finds itself in, stating that it will shut down on Dec. 16 “in the absence of either enactment of reauthorizing legislation by the Senate and the House of Representatives that is duly signed by the President of the United States by that date, or, enactment of provisions specifically extending USCIRF's operations in another continuing resolution or other measures, should any of these be adopted by the Congress.”
The resolution was sent to President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and members of Congress. In a brief cover letter, the nine commissioners, who are unpaid and nominated variously by the president and congressional leaders, expressed regret at having to bring the matter to their attention.
“It remains our most fervent hope that the Commission will be reauthorized, so that it can continue its vital work in advising the President, the Congress, and the Secretary of State,” the note said.
“The Commission expresses its sincere appreciation to all those who have supported, and remain supportive of, the continuation and reauthorization of the Commission’s mandate and work.”
Earlier, USCIRF Chairman Leonard Leo urged lawmakers not to let the commission die, saying that doing so “would signal to the world that the United States is retreating from the cause of religious freedom.”
(End of story, my comments follow)
Normally the shutting down of any government agency would be considered good news. But this is an exception. I've read some of the reports from this Commission and they're pretty well onboard with the stated objective. It IS bipartisan and accurate.
If the ending of this Commission was a one of a kind act it'd be no problem. But coupled with things such as placing the topic of human rights on the back burner in negotiations with China, tacitly supporting the "Arab Spring" which has all indications of bringing hardcore Islamic fanatics to power, refusing to speak up when the Iranians were being killed in the streets for THEIR protests a few years back, makes me doubt there is ANY concern by B.O. & Co. for true freedom in this world. That would also include our own nation, I trust those bums as far as I can throw them. End of story.
Yet the demise of this Commission will be met with a yawn for the most part. IMO it's more indication that the time is fast approaching for a wakeup call of some kind. I believe whatever it is will be harsh and violent. Stand by folks, we live in interesting times.
UPDATE: Evidently they've dodged that particular bullet at the last minute. http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/us-religious-freedom-commission-reauthorized-at-last-minute/
As always, our government bears watching.
Friday, December 16, 2011
Found this via Drudge: