As 150,000 churches in 120 nations mobilized September 29 for a special prayer campaign on behalf of persecuted Christians around the world, the Clinton administration and Congress took new steps to re-examine U.S. policy responses to global religious persecution.

In September, administration officials confirmed that U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher has approved the establishment of an "advisory committee on religious freedom abroad" that will be staffed by the State Department's Office of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.

State Department sources told CT the committee would study the issue of religious persecution broadly, as well as the role religion can play to inflame and resolve world conflicts, and then issue a report to both the President and the secretary of state.

Also in September, the Senate and the House of Representatives adopted separate but similar resolutions condemning the "egregious human rights abuses and denials of religious liberty to Christians around the world." Both nonbinding resolutions urged the President to "expand and invigorate United States international advocacy on behalf of persecuted Christians."

The Senate resolution, passed unanimously September 17, encouraged the President to "proceed forward as expeditiously as possible" in appointing a White House special adviser on religious persecution. The House version, passed September 24, encouraged the President to "take organizational steps," including appointment of a special adviser or "the creation of a special advisory committee for religious liberty abroad which has an appropriate mandate and adequate staff."

In January, the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) called on President Clinton to take specific steps to improve the ...

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