President taps Brownback as Religious Freedom Ambassador

Orlin Wagner  AP

Sam Brownback is preparing to leave Kansas for a new job in the Trump administration, but his new title has many Kansans scratching their heads: What is the ambassador-at-large for religious freedom? The decision to take someone of his stature - a sitting governor - and put him in a position of this importance is hugely encouraging.

"Senator Brownback will, I sincerely hope, see this position as contributing to the national security of the United States", Tom Farr, the president of the Religious Freedom Institute, said. "The choice of what you do with your own soul", he tweeted.

"I am very happy for Sam and am proud that he has been selected for this important cause", Sen.

The last person to hold the position was David Saperstein, a rabbi and attorney who held the position from January 2015 to January 2017.

In his new post, Brownback will be in charge of reporting on religious freedom problems across the world and leading the diplomatic effort to resolve these issues.

Brownback, in the middle of his second term as governor after being reelected in 2014, promoted a conservative tax policy that some economists say led to Kansas' declining revenue.

Brownback also served as a USA representative from 1995 to 1996 and as a US senator from 1996 to 2010.

According to the Kansas City Star, Trump on Wednesday announced Brownback's appointment as ambassador-at-large for global religious freedom, a post Brownback had been rumored to get for months. FOX 4 meant to hear from Lt. Gov. Colyer and we were told that he's now at a convention for lieutenant governors.

The Office of International Religious Freedom is housed within the State Department.

"President Trump has made this selection in six months, whereas it took his predecessor 27 months to do the same", said James Dobson, host of My Family Talk and founder of Focus on the Family.

The Kansas Democratic Party said it is not encouraged at the prospect of working with Colyer as governor.

"Lt. Governor Colyer has been an active and willing participant in the disastrous policies of Sam Brownback".

Brownback is expected to speak during a news conference Thursday afternoon in Topeka.

Brownback has always been a favorite of Christian conservatives for his strong stances as a US senator against abortion and same-sex marriage. Maureen Ferguson, senior policy adviser with The Catholic Association, said that Brownback's record on defending religious freedom during his time in the Senate proves his qualification.

As Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights reminds us, "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance". "Governor Brownback is exactly this kind of leader".

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