Tom Reese Named to Commission on International Religious Freedom

Jesuit journalist Father Thomas J. Reese is among several new members of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

In a May 14 announcement, President Barack Obama named Father Reese to the organization that serves as a monitoring and advisory panel to the federal government on religious freedom abroad. He joins three fellow Catholics on the commission: chairman Robert P. George, a bioethicist and Princeton University professor; James Zogby, the founder and president of the Arab American Institute; and Mary Ann Glendon, a Harvard University law professor and former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican.

Advertisement

Commissioners serve two-year terms and may be reappointed. As of May 19, there was one vacancy on the commission, to be filled by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

In naming Father Reese, the White House press release noted his current post as a senior analyst for the National Catholic Reporter, his two stints as a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University and his term as associate editor and then editor-in-chief of the Jesuit magazine America. Father Reese has been a Jesuit since 1962, and a priest since 1974. In addition to undergraduate and master's degrees including a master's of divinity, he holds a doctorate in political science.

Under the 1998 law that created the commission, three of its nine slots are filled by the president, two by Congressional leaders of the president's party and the other four by House and Senate leaders in the party that doesn't hold the presidency.

George was reappointed this year by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Glendon was reappointed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

In addition to Father Reese, Obama named Eric P. Schwartz to the commission. He is dean of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. He has held positions as deputy special envoy to the U.N. Secretary general for tsunami recovery; on the staff of the National Security Council and has been active in an assortment of human rights and social services organizations.

Also appointed for a term that began in mid-May was Daniel I. Mark, an assistant professor of political science at Villanova University, who was named by Boehner. Mark is a faculty associate of the Matthew J. Ryan Center for the Study of Free Institutions and the Public Good, and also works with the Tikvah Fund, a Jewish educational center.

Other commissioners who were reappointed this spring include vice chairs Katrina Lantos Swett, founder and president of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice, who was reappointed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, a physician who is the president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy. He was reappointed by McConnell. Zogby has another year in his two-year term.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

The latest from america

Join America Media for a discussion with Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, with Matt Malone, S.J., editor in chief of America magazine, on the foundations of the papacy of pope Francis.
America FilmsSeptember 19, 2018
Brett and Bridget Hutchinson of St. Thomas More in St. Paul, Minn., pray with other young adults gathered on the steps of the Cathedral of St. Paul Aug. 20 during a vigil called "Evening Prayer for the Survivors of Clerical Abuse and the Healing of the Church." (CNS photo/Dave Hrbacek, The Catholic Spirit) 
“I’m unhappy about what’s being done here,” Elizabeth Bruenig said at a conversation at Georgetown University. “The one thing I can do is throw a fit.”
Teresa DonnellanSeptember 19, 2018
A Vatican source confirmed that a high-level Holy See delegation will travel to the Chinese capital for the signing and that a date has already been fixed for this ground-breaking event.
Gerard O’ConnellSeptember 18, 2018
Swiss Guards salute as Cardinals Timothy M. Dolan of New York and Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston leave a meeting of cardinals with Pope Francis in the synod hall at the Vatican Feb. 21, 2014. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) 
“The church has lost credibility in investigating itself.”
Jim McDermottSeptember 18, 2018