Seventh-day Adventist leaders applauded the announcement of a nominee for
a religious freedom advocacy position at the U.S. Department of State, a post
that has been vacant since October.
The White House announced that Rabbi David Nathan Saperstein would be
nominated to serve as Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom.
Saperstein was the first chair of the U.S. Commission on International
Religious Freedom, beginning in 1999, and the director and counsel of the
Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, where he has served since 1974. He
is also an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center in
The Adventist church’s legislative affairs director, Dwayne Leslie, said
he welcomed the announcement, saying the post is a key position for monitoring religious
freedom persecution and discrimination
“We’re glad the State Department will again have leadership to help
address religious freedom abuses that are happening throughout the world on a
daily basis,” Leslie said. “Rabbi Saperstein is someone who brings a wealth of
experience to the table, and we’ve worked with him over the years on a number
of religious liberty issues.”
The Adventist Church advocates for religious freedom and is a key sponsor
of the International Religious Liberty Association (IRLA), a non-sectarian organization. In 2009, the Adventist Church and
the IRLA presented Saperstein the National Award at their annual Religious Liberty
Dinner in Washington, D.C.
Saperstein would succeed Suzan Johnson Cook, who resigned last year. His
appointment hinges on confirmation by the U.S. Senate. The job was created by
Congress in 1998.