here & there:

Obama’s religion ambassador

posted by Jake Alter

President Barack Obama has filled the post for ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom.  On June 16, the White House sent Suzan D. Johnson Cook’s nomination to the Senate for confirmation.  William Wan and Michelle Boorstein, posting on The Washington Post‘s religion blog, “On Faith,” commented on her nomination:

Cook’s name had been out there for months (as we reported in January), so there has been plenty of time for the self-described international religious freedom community to react.  Reaction has been pretty uniform — respect for Cook’s work in building a New York City-based mega-ministry and in her interest in public service, but concern for the lack of any expertise in international religious freedom and human rights work, or foreign policy work in general.

Anthea Butler, writing for Religion Dispatches, further criticized her appointment, calling her one of President Obama’s “pop culture religionists:”

President Obama’s recent announcement of his intent to nominate the Rev. Dr. Suzan D. Johnson Cook, or Dr. Sujay, as she is known on the “circuit,” as Ambassador-at-Large forInternational Religious Freedom, was soft news in a busy news week. But despite the lack of attention to what should be a critical diplomatic post, the nomination speaks volumes about the president’s proclivity for flash rather than substance in religious matters.

Read Butler’s full article here.  Read the entire “On Faith” post here.

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