In a White House gathering June 18 of more than 50 religious leaders, President Clinton named former World Vision president Robert A. Seiple to the new post of senior adviser for international religious freedom.
Seiple, who at 55 stepped down last month after 11 years as head of the world's largest privately funded Christian international relief-and-development organization (CT, June 15, 1998, p. 49), will advise the Secretary of State on ways to integrate and implement policies that promote religious freedom into U.S. foreign policy.
Calling the appointment "a victory of great magnitude" for evangelicals, former National Association of Evangelicals president Don Argue says it is "a great statement on advocacy for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are persecuted for their faith." A member of the State Department's Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad that proposed the new position, Argue briefed the President on his recent diplomatic trip to China (see p. 34).
Clinton says the position is designed to "make sure that religious liberty concerns get high and close attention in our foreign policy."
The appointment of Seiple "brings to the attention of world governments that the U.S. is serious about freedom of conscience," says Argue, who attended the ceremony.1