Christian Medical Association Expresses Appreciation for International Religious Freedom Executive Order
Washington, DC—June 3, 2020—The nation's largest faith-based association of health professionals, the Christian Medical Association (CMA, www.cmda.org) today expressed appreciation for the Administration’s June 2 international religious freedom executive order that includes funding for international programs "intended to anticipate, prevent, and respond to attacks against individuals and groups on the basis of their religion."
"We appreciate the determination of the U.S. government to advance freedom of faith for the people of other countries including health professionals serving in those countries who employ their faith to bring healing and hope to many patients," noted CMA CEO Dr. Mike Chupp, a general surgeon who served two decades in Kenya as medical director of Tenwek Hospital. "Hundreds of our members currently serve overseas, including at great personal danger in countries where Christians experience persecution, and we deeply appreciate efforts to secure religious freedom in all countries."
The executive order also stipulates, "Executive departments and agencies (agencies) that fund foreign assistance programs shall ensure that faith-based and religious entities, including eligible entities in foreign countries, are not discriminated against on the basis of religious identity or religious belief when competing for Federal funding…." The order also requires relevant government officials to "undertake training modeled on the international religious freedom training described in section 708(a) of the Foreign Service Act of 1980."
CMA conducted a survey of its members serving overseas, regarding the relationship between faith-based organizations overseas and the U.S. government. The survey (www.freedom2care.org/polling) of health professionals serving in over 50 countries and representing over 100 organizations highlighted great potential and also areas needing improvement for faith-based and U.S. government partnerships. The survey report recommended greater communication between government officials and faith-based organizations through outreach programs such as the New Partnerships Initiative (www.usaid.gov/npi) that the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has launched.
"The commitment of the United States government to advancing religious freedom abroad--and the leadership of the Administration and Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback as well as U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom chair Tony Perkins--serves as a vital encouragement to many people of faith suffering in countries where either the government or extremists or both are persecuting them simply for their beliefs," noted CMA Senior VP for Bioethics and Public Policy, Dr. Jeff Barrows.