After a close vote, the Senate approved the nomination of Governor Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) to be the Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, a job then-Senator Brownback was pivotal in creating in 1998 to address religious persecution and genocide around the world.
The only Senator from Missouri or Kansas to vote against Brownback was the liberal Sen. Claire McCaskill.
The Office of International Religious Freedom is responsible for monitoring international religious freedom and publishing an annual report. The office is under the U.S. Department of State.
“I am honored to serve such an important cause,” Brownback wrote on Twitter after he was nominated. “Religious freedom is the first freedom. The choice of what you do with your own soul.”
In the new role, Brownback’s mission will be to monitor “religious persecution and discrimination worldwide, recommend and implement policies in respective regions or countries, and develop programs to promote religious freedom.”
Religious freedom and life issues often are closely connected, and pro-life advocates saw erosion of these freedoms under pro-abortion President Barack Obama. Having a pro-life leader in this top-level policy role is good news for unborn babies and those most threatened by euthanasia and assisted suicide.
“I’m pleased that the Senate voted today to confirm Governor Sam Brownback as the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom at the State Department,” said Senator James Lankford (R-OK). “The violation of the basic human right of religious freedom is under attack all around the world, and religious minorities are being oppressed and killed.”
He added: “The United States must not become numb to these violations of a fundamental human right. Instead, we must act. Confirmation of Sam Brownback as the Ambassador-at-Large sends a message to the world that religious freedom is a priority of the United States government. It is an important first step, but we cannot stop there. Religious freedom must be an integral part of our overall national security and we must use all tools available to condemn acts of religious persecution. We must condemn blasphemy laws; we must ensure the inclusion of religious freedom in negotiations with our trade partners, and we must develop better strategies to secure the release of Americans abroad. As a world leader for freedom and the protection of basic human rights, the United States should take every opportunity to advocate for people – including Americans here at home – to think, believe, and act according to their religious belief whether they belong to a minority or majority religion in their nation.”
Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska added: “Americans are First Amendment people. We believe that we’re all creedal minorities, protecting each other’s rights to debate, to evangelize, and to worship. We ought to defend and cultivate that freedom. Governor Sam Brownback will bring years of expertise and stature to this important new calling and I wish him Godspeed as Religious Freedom Ambassador.”
Leading pro-life groups supported Brownback.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins told LifeNews, “From the very beginning of his administration, President Trump has been intentional about his desire to pick up the torch for religious liberty, first trying to secure it for Americans here at home through executive order and other directives. But with his nomination of Sam Brownback to Ambassador at Large for Religious Freedom, the administration has shown its sincerity on restoring the United States’ reputation as a voice for the voiceless.”
Brownback has a long, consistent pro-life record as a politician.
Under Brownback’s leadership, Kansas recently was named the second most pro-life state in the nation by Americans United for Life. During a pro-life rally in January, Brownback embraced the title with pride and vowed that Kansans would continue to work hard to protect all human lives from abortion.
“Kansas is the leading pro-life state in America, and we will stay that way,” Brownback said.
Two years ago, Brownback signed an important law banning brutal dismemberment abortions that tear unborn babies limb from limb. The law was the first of its kind in the nation. Since then, several other states have followed Kansas’s lead and passed dismemberment abortion bans.
He also signed a bill to defund the abortion business Planned Parenthood in Kansas during his first year as governor.
Earlier this year, Brownback sent a letter of encouragement to President Trump and the leaders of the U.S. House and Senate, urging them to “grasp the opportunity to proclaim and protect the dignity of life.” He asked them to defund the abortion giant Planned Parenthood and pass several other key pieces of pro-life legislation, including a dismemberment abortion ban.
Brownback also was a strong pro-life advocate when he served in the U.S. House and Senate.
Pending U.S. Senate confirmation, Brownback is expected to step down as governor. Kansas Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, who also is pro-life, would take his place.
– STEVEN ERTELT