David Curry, President and CEO of the Christian outreach organization Open Doors, is a new commissioner of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) with a two-year term ending in May 2024.
The USCIRF is a bipartisan entity created by Congress to monitor religious freedom overseas and recommend remedial measures to the government aimed at promoting freedom of religion and belief.
Based in Santa Ana, California, Open Doors monitors persecution of Christians worldwide. The group works in more than 60 high-risk countries where it supplies Bibles, trains church leaders and offers support and emergency relief to Christians. Open Doors publishes an annual report that spotlights 50 countries where Christians suffer the most extreme oppression because of their faith, including false imprisonment, captivity, and a range of violent attacks and murders.
“In too many countries today, exercising the fundamental right to practice one’s faith comes at a terrible price,” Curry said, following his appointment in May. “People everywhere should have freedom to worship and live out their religious convictions peacefully without fear of governments, extremists or cultural pressure.”
Vowing to spotlight underreported incidents of worldwide religious persecution as a USCIRF member and help further elevate “the voices of those who are persecuted for their faith,” Curry said he looked forward to working with his fellow commissioners on the influential panel.
He mentioned, in particular, U.S. Congressman (1981-2015) Frank R. Wolf of Virginia, and Nury Turkel, attorney and longtime activist for the rights of the Muslim Uyghur community in China’s Xinjiang province.
Curry applauded the “outspoken advocacy” of Congressman Wolf “on religious freedom over many decades,” describing it as “unparalleled.” He also paid tribute to Turkel, “whose courageous efforts have shined a spotlight on the genocide being perpetrated against the Uyghur community in China.”
USCIRF Commissioners are appointed by the President and Senate and House leaders from both parties. The commissioners make foreign policy recommendations to the President, State Department and Congress.
“These appointments could not come at a better time,” said Sam Brownback, former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom who now serves as Senior Fellow at Open Doors. “Religious freedom is a right that belongs to everyone, everywhere, all the time, and it’s a right that is constantly under attack.”
As Open Doors CEO, Curry travels widely to global hotspots where the religious freedom of Christians is threatened and they face violence and discrimination in various spheres of their lives, ranging from private life and family life to community, national and church life.
One of his first actions since being appointed to the USCIRF was a June 7 op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, “The Christian Martyrs of Nigeria,” in which he urged the State Department to include Nigeria in the U.S. government’s “Country of Particular Concern” list—a step that Washington finally took in 2020, only to reverse the decision “without explanation” last year. Curry recommended that the government should “redesignate Nigeria immediately” to “send a clear signal that the U.S. won’t stand by as the innocent faithful are persecuted.”
From its beginnings, the Church of Scientology has recognized that freedom of religion is a fundamental human right. In a world where conflicts are often traceable to intolerance of others’ religious beliefs and practices, the Church has, for more than 50 years, made the preservation of religious liberty an overriding concern.
The Church publishes this blog to help create a better understanding of the freedom of religion and belief and provide news on religious freedom and issues affecting this freedom around the world.
For more information visit the Scientology website or Scientology Network.