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Will Trump’s New Secretary of State Prioritize Religious Freedom?

Top advocates have spent much of President Donald Trump’s time in office waiting for his administration’s international religious freedom efforts to fall into place.

 With today’s firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, they’re left once again wondering exactly how the administration will approach the issue as part of a broader strategy for foreign affairs.

The President announced this morning that Tillerson, who ran the State Department since February 2017, would be replaced by Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director Mike Pompeo.

Most analysts agree that Tillerson, the former ExxonMobil CEO, fell out of favor with the administration and had a hard time rallying support within the department. As Pompeo takes on his new role, he’ll be stepping into one of the most significant leadership positions in the US government.

“He sets the tone for US foreign policy,” Chris Seiple, president emeritus of the Institute for Global Engagement, told CT. The secretary’s “attention [to religious freedom]—as with any subject—is what people inside the State Department building and foreign ministries alike watch for.”

The news of the leadership transition came just over a month after Sam Brownback was finally confirmed as ambassador-at-large to head the department’s Office of International Religious Freedom (IRF), after several months of delay.

During Tillerson’s year at the State Department, he was a few months late issuing its annual religious freedom report and had relatively brief analysis to share on the state of religious freedom abroad.

Tom Farr, president of the Religious Freedom Institute, expects that Pompeo—an Army veteran and former congressman—will engage the issue as it relates to national security.

Read more at Christianity Today. 

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