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Reform Rabbi New Ambassador for Freedom of Religion

Forum Debate: Religion and Politics: David Saperstein

The Senate approved Reform Rabbi David N Saperstein to become ambassador at large for international religious freedom, as reported by the New York Times. Rabbi Saperstein’s role will be to focus on religious persecution around the world, and he has identified problems in Burma, China, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Syria and has highlighted the dramatic increase in anti-semitic incidents in Europe.

Rabbi Saperstein was approved 62 to 35. All of the “no” votes were cast by Republicans, partly because of Saperstein’s open support for the Obama Administration; he gave the invocation to the Democratic convention where President Obama was nominated in 2008. He has also been outspoken in his criticism of the ruling by the Supreme Court that allowed certain companies to deny contraception coverage on religious grounds. However, Rabbi Saperstein has also worked closely with Christian conservative sin the past.

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