WASHINGTON, DC -- Family Research Council (FRC) praised President Trump’s decision yesterday to nominate Kansas Governor Sam Brownback to the post of Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom at the State Department. Created in 1998, the role has helped to highlight the issue of religious freedom around the world, but has had limited success in being able to shape foreign policy in a comprehensive manner. The Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act, signed into law last December, made changes which will result in the Ambassador-at-Large reporting directly to the Secretary of State.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins made the following comments:
“I am very pleased to see my friend Governor Brownback nominated for this important position. He is a well-qualified nominee facing a weighty task, as religious freedom is under serious attack in many places around the world right now. When we combine the positive changes put in place by the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act with someone of Governor Brownback’s expertise and stature, we stand a better chance that this issue will get the attention it deserves in U.S. foreign policy, and that the challenges will be addressed,” concluded Perkins.
Travis Weber, Director of the Center for Religious Liberty at the Family Research Council, added the following comments:
“With this nomination, the Trump administration has a unique opportunity to prioritize the protection of human rights and religious freedom around the world. In past U.S. administrations, the issue has simply not consistently been a core goal in foreign policy. We must bring back America’s role as a global religious freedom defender by integrating and prioritizing religious freedom in our foreign policy across federal agencies. We also must conduct international religious freedom training for U.S. government employees and officials engaged in such work, and ensure that our asylum and refugee processing mechanisms give fair consideration all claims of persecution on the basis of religion. Governor Brownback can help in all these areas.
“Specifically, the United States must not neglect our responsibility to follow up on efforts to protect Christians, Yezidis, and others from the horrific violence in the Middle East. We have already recognized a genocide is taking place there, and now amid recent reports that State Department lawyers are removing that term from official descriptions of the situation, we must exercise even more vigilance to ensure victims of genocide get the protection they need and deserve.
“Key efforts by Congress in this area must continue, by passing additional pieces of legislation such as such as the Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief and Accountability Act of 2017, but good people need to affect change to refocus the fight for religious freedom. We are confident that Governor Brownback will be able to help bring that change, both in the Middle East and around the world,” concluded Weber.