After jostling with the State Department over his desire to work toward interfaith dialogue, prominent Catholic and conservative Douglas Kmiec resigned his post as U.S. Ambassador to Malta.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Kmiec rejected an internal State Department report that asserted his advocacy of interfaith understanding was outside his official ambassadorial mission.
In his letter of resignation, Kmiec wrote that State's inspector general had a "flawed and narrow vision of our diplomatic mission." As a result of the investigation, Kmiec said, "my voice has been prevented from speaking, my pen has been enjoined from writitng, and my actions have been confined to the ministerial."
It's true that most ambassadors are administrators -- the job is rarely embued with the glamor visited upon it by spy thrillers and war movies. But Kmiec saw his role as singular: Obama was drawn to him because of Kmiec's dedication to understanding across the faiths in a time of religious extremism. He felt he was clearly given two equal jobs: ambassador to strategically important Malta, and ambassador for interfaith dialogue. The State Department apparently never liked the moonlighting.
If Kmiec stays gone from State, Obama needs to step in and find a new, high-profile role for a creative thinker whose support of the President has cost him points with right-wing traditionalists who once counted him in their camp. He really deserves no less.