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President Bush appoints two Commissioners

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 20, 2004

Contact:
Anne Johnson, Director of Communications, (202) 523-3240, ext. 27

WASHINGTON - President George W. Bush today reappointed the Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput of Denver, Colorado and appointed Michael Cromartie of Arlington, Virginia to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). Archbishop Chaput will be serving his second term on the Commission. Michael Cromartie succeeds Dr. Richard D. Land. They will each serve a two-year term.

The Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput was installed as the Archbishop of Denver in 1997. Prior to that he served as Bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota for nearly nine years. He served as the Provincial Minister and CEO of the Capuchin Province of Mid-America in Denver for five years, in addition to holding various other leadership positions there. Upon his installation as Archbishop, he became the first Native American archbishop (Prairie Band Portawatomi Tribe) in U.S. history. Archbishop Chaput has a M.A. in Theology from the University of San Francisco and a M.A. in Religious Education from Capuchin College in Washington, DC. He has a B.A. in Philosophy from St. Fidelis College in Pennsylvania. He was also an instructor of Theology and the Spiritual Director at St. Fidelis College Seminary.

Michael Cromartie is Vice President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., where he directs the Evangelicals in Civic Life program and the Media and Religion program. He has contributed book reviews and articles to First Things, Books and Culture, and Christianity Today. He is the editor of twelve books on religion and politics including, most recently, "A Public Faith: Evangelicals and Civic Engagement" and "A Preserving Grace: Protestants, Catholics, and Natural Law." He is an adjunct professor at Reformed Theological Seminary, an advisory editor at Christianity Today, on the Board of Directors of Mars Hill Audio, and was an advisor to the PBS documentary series "With God on Our Side: The Rise of the Christian Right in America." Frequently asked to explicate the dynamics between religious faith and political convictions, Mr. Cromartie has been interviewed on numerous radio and television programs, including National Public Radio, CNN, ABC News, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, MSNBC, PBS and quoted frequently in the Washington Post, New York Times, The New Republic, Time, and U.S. News and World Report. He holds an M.A. in Justice from The American University and a B.A. from Covenant College in Georgia.

"We welcome President Bush's reappointment of Archbishop Chaput and appointment of Michael Cromartie to the USCIRF," said Chair Preeta D. Bansal. "Archbishop Chaput has made invaluable contributions to the work of the Commission since his appointment a year ago. We look forward to continuing to work with him. We also greatly look forward to the insights and contributions of Commissioner Cromartie as we work to advance freedom of thought, conscience, and religion or belief around the world. All of the Commissioners join me in thanking former Commissioner Dr. Land for his enormous dedication and work over the past three years."

The Commission consists of nine voting Commissioners and the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, who is a non-voting member. Three Commissioners are selected by the President, two by the leaders of the President's party in Congress, and four by the congressional leaders of the other party. Archbishop Chaput and Mr. Cromartie join Preeta D. Bansal, Patti Chang, Khaled Abou El Fadl, Felice D. Gaer, Bishop Ricardo Ramirez, Nina Shea and Michael K. Young on the Commission. Commissioners serve for two-year terms and are eligible for reappointment.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom was created by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 to monitor the status of freedom of thought, conscience, and religion or belief abroad, as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and related international instruments, and to give independent policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State and the Congress.

Preeta D. Bansal,Chair
  • Felice D. Gaer,Vice ChairNina Shea,Vice ChairPatti ChangArchbishop Charles J. ChaputMichael CromartieKhaled Abou El FadlBishop Ricardo RamirezMichael K. YoungAmbassador John V. Hanford III,Ex-OfficioJoseph R. Crapa,Executive Director