(Washington, D.C.) The Chief Justice of the United States, John G. Roberts, today swore in Dr. Robert P. George as the Chairman of the U.S Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) in a ceremony at the Supreme Court. Dr. George took the oath on the Bible of Harriet Tubman, the great abolitionist and defender of liberty and human dignity. Dr. Cornel West held the bible as Dr. George took the oath in Chief Justice Roberts’ chambers.
“I am deeply honored to have been sworn in by the Chief Justice as USCIRF’s Chairman, humbled by taking my oath of office on Harriet Tubman’s bible, and uplifted by the participation of my colleague and dear friend, Dr. West,” said Dr. George. “As I held this bible in my hands, I was struck by the thought that every generation is responsible for the defense of human liberty and dignity, and that each generation stands on the shoulders of past heroes. I am awed by Harriet Tubman’s witness and sacrifices and the towering example she set for us all, especially during this year’s commemoration of the 100th anniversary of her death.
In addition to my deep thanks to Chief Justice Roberts, I am grateful that the Harriet Tubman Home has graciously allowed the use of her bible, and for Dr. West’s presence today,” continued Dr. George. “Dr. West and I are profoundly united in our commitment to the precious right of religious freedom for all and to the cause of defending the victims of persecution and injustice across the globe.”
Dr. West, with whom Dr. George often co-teaches at Princeton University, said “I am blessed to stand beside my dear brother and distinguished colleague, Robert George, as he reaffirms his deep commitment to the religious liberty of each and every one of us both here and abroad.”
Comprised of nine members, USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission that monitors the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad and makes policy recommendations to the President, Secretary of State, and Congress. USCIRF Commissioners are appointed by the President and the leadership of both political parties in the Senate and House of Representatives.
“My experience today reinforces my view of the urgency of USCIRF’s work in support of human dignity and freedom and against religious persecution – so often violent and even lethal – in so many places around the globe,” concluded Dr. George.