Marjorie Taylor Greene Among 4 GOP Reps to Vote Against Religious Freedom

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and three other House Republicans voted against a bill seeking to reauthorize funding for the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

The bipartisan commission, created in 1998 under the International Religious Freedom Act, monitors threats to religious freedom and makes non-binding policy recommendations to the administration and Congress.

The Senate passed the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom Reauthorization Act by unanimous consent in July after it was introduced earlier this year by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican.

The legislation continues appropriations for the commission through the 2024 fiscal year, authorizing $3.5 million in 2023 and 2024. Funding is currently due to expire at the end of September.

On Monday, the House approved the measure in a 402-4 vote. The bill had needed a two-thirds majority to pass.

House Democrats voted unanimously to fund the commission, while Republicans in the chamber voted 195-4 for it.

Along with the Georgia congresswoman, Reps. Louie Gohmert of Texas, Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Chip Roy of Texas voted against the bill. Twenty-six lawmakers—13 Democrats and 13 Republicans—did not vote.

Massie’s spokesperson told The Hill that he voted against the bill “because he doesn’t want the government involved in religion; he would prefer the government leave religion alone.”

Newsweek has contacted Massie, Greene, Gohmert and Roy for further comment.

The USCIRF “does important work to help us protect and promote the human right of religious freedom for all people of every faith around the world,” Sen. Hames Lankford, who co-sponsored the bill, tweeted on Monday. “The House is finally passing my bill to reauthorize this commission.”

The USCIRF “monitors the universal right to freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) abroad; makes policy recommendations to the President, Secretary of State, and Congress; and tracks the implementation of these recommendations,” the commission says on its website.

The commission’s nine members are appointed “by either the President or Congressional leaders of each political party, supported by a non-partisan professional staff.”

The website also notes that while the USCIRF is independent from the U.S. State Department, the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom is a non-voting member.

The commission’s latest report, published earlier in September, outlines how violence in Nigeria is impacting religious freedom.

Nigeria was among the countries that the commission recommended be designated as being “countries of particular concern” in its 2022 annual report, released in April.

Afghanistan should also join the list of the worst violators of religious freedom after the Taliban’s return to power, the commission also said in the report.

Religious minorities have “faced harassment, detention and even death due to their faith or beliefs” since the Taliban imposed its strict interpretation of Sunni Islam on the country, the report said.

US Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) speaks
US Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) speaks to supporters at a Save America Rally at the Covelli Centre on September 17, 2022 in Youngstown, Ohio.
Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

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