The position of ambassador for religious freedom might just find the right fit
Rumors have been floating around that Kansas Governor, Sam Brownback, could very well become the new Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom . The possibility has seen plenty of bipartisan support, especially from human rights advocates.
According to Russell Moore, President of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Brownback was “second to none” as far as advocacy for persecuted religious groups was concerned.
Brownback, who is currently 60 years of age, is a conservative Catholic. He served over a decade in the U.S. senate prior to becoming the Governor of Kansas. At present, he is two years into his second term as Governor of Kansas.
But, despite the praise for Brownback, statistics still show him as being the most unpopular governor. His current approval ratings have dropped lower than 30 percent. If elected as the ambassador for religious liberty, he would be stepping down from his role as the governor.
The State Department has not responded to Brownback’s possible appointment. His office, on the other hand, sent out an email that spoke of his commitment to the state of Kansas, implying the potential appointment was of no immediate concern.
The appreciation for Brownback’s nomination as Ambassador for Religious Freedom comes after Senate and House lawmakers launched resolutions demanding the new administration to prioritize religious liberty across the globe as a key aspect of its foreign policy.
The resolutions demanded that President Trump immediately find a suitable individual who could take up the position in question, which has been vacant since January 2017.
Brownback is recognized for his role in supporting refugees during his tenure as a U.S. Senator. However, as a governor, he removed Kansas from the refugee program. Even though the move doesn’t stop Kansas from accommodating refugees, it does prevent state participation.
In 2016, he also signed a bill that allows religious groups, within university campuses (in Kansas) to restrict membership based on adherence to the group’s beliefs. The bill attracted both support and criticism; advocates stated that the bill allowed for religious freedom while critics said it opened doors to discrimination.
Strong rumor in D.C is that Gov. Sam Brownback will be the next religious freedom ambassador. No WH confirmation.https://t.co/K0DUOJOLV4
— Emma Green (@emmaogreen) May 15, 2017
The U.S. Government has had four individuals serving as Ambassadors of Religious Freedom up until now. But, despite this, the role never played a key role with regard to foreign policy. During Bush’s term, the role took two years to be filled and three years during the Obama era.
However, with Brownback likely to take up the role, many believe his background as a senator and governor will help the position receive its due attention.