Religious Freedom Bill Signed into Law

Before leaving office, President Barack Obama approved legislation that religious liberty advocates believe will help the nation’s fight against Christian persecution, including from ISIS and other terrorist organizations.

On Dec. 13, Obama signed the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act (H.R. 1150) after the Senate and House of Representatives endorsed the action.

The bill was named after retired Congressman Frank Wolf (R-Va.), a long-time champion for religious freedom. The legislation amends and updates a measure Wolf originally sponsored in 1998. It adds an “entities of particular concern” designation to highlight groups such as ISIS and Boko Haram.

The legislation also establishes a “designated persons” list for individuals, and it allows the president to sanction anyone who participates in religious persecution.

Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, said passage of the Wolf Act exemplified a strong coalition in the battle against religious persecution.

“The bipartisan nature of this passage shows us that religious freedom does not have to be a partisan issue but is rooted in our deepest commitments as Americans, and I hope that persecuted religious minorities around the globe will see that they have not been forgotten,” Moore said. “While the passage of this act by no means solves the religious freedom crisis around the world, it is a step in the right direction.”