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Religion | The nine commissioners who serve on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

Issue: "Kerry praying for votes," Oct. 9, 2004

The International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 created the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, an independent government body that advises the secretary of state, president, and Congress but does not have the authority to make foreign policy. The nine commissioners serve two-year terms. President Bush appointed the latest, evangelical scholar Michael Cromartie, on Sept. 20. Members now include:

Preeta D. Bansal, Chairwoman, Hindu; Of Counsel, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom

Felice D. Gaer, Vice Chairwoman, Jewish; Director, Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights; The American Jewish Committee

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Nina Shea, Vice Chairwoman, Catholic; Director of the Center for Religious Freedom, Freedom House

Patti Chang, Commissioner, Buddhist; President and CEO of the Women's Foundation of California

Charles J. Chaput, Catholic; Archbishop of Denver

Michael Cromartie, Evangelical Episcopalian; Vice President, Ethics and Public Policy Center

Khaled Abou El Fadl, Muslim; Professor of Law at UCLA

Ricardo Ramirez, Catholic; Bishop of the Diocese of Las Cruces, New Mexico

Michael K. Young, Mormon; President, University of Utah

John V. Hanford III, Evangelical; Ex-Officio, Non-voting Commissioner, Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, U.S. Department of State


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