Editor’s note: Isn’t it interesting that Senator Chuck Schumer shed tears on cue and on camera for illegal aliens, but has no pressers nor tears for persecuted Christians world-wide? Tami Jackson
Vice President Mike Pence just returned from a trip to the Middle East, but his most important work for the region may have been done yesterday. After a six-month wait, Donald Trump’s second-in-command broke the Senate tie that filled one of the most important jobs in the administration: Ambassador-at-Large for Religious Freedom. It was an excruciating delay — not just for Governor Sam Brownback (R-Kans.), who will assume the post — but for the millions of persecuted men and women around the world. Now, at long last, the help they’ve been waiting for has arrived.
Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.), one of Congress’s outspoken leaders on the issue, congratulated Sam’s nomination. “The United States,” he warned, “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…” Then, explaining the significance to our own nation, he urged, “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.”
Americans, Senator Ben Sasse (R-Nebr.) reminded everyone, 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.”
If anything dampened the celebration, it was Senate Democrats — not one of whom crossed party lines on what should be a consensus confirmation. The protection of religious liberty around the world wasn’t a polarizing issue — until yesterday, when 49 members of the party that created the position refused to put politics aside. In a single vote, they positioned themselves to the left of even Barack Obama, who, in 2016, took the job out of the low levels of bureaucracy and made it a direct report to the secretary of state. If the administration with the worst record on religious liberty could recognize the importance of this post, what does that say about today’s Democrats? Do they even care about basic human rights?
Their objections shouldn’t have anything to do with Sam Brownback. He’s spent his entire career defending the rights of suffering people around the globe. I’ve known Sam since he was first in Washington, and I can assure you, he’s been championing this issue since his earliest days. If anyone should understand Brownback’s long history of supporting religious and ethnic minorities, it’s his former Senate colleagues. Amazingly, liberals complain that Sam focuses too many of his efforts on the plight of Christians. But guess what? They happen to the most persecuted faith group in the world! (See for yourself in Open Doors USA’s annual 2018 report.)
Regardless, one look at Brownback’s record ought to put their phony bias claims to rest. Even two decades ago, Sam was an outspoken defender of Jewish minorities in Russia, the Baha’i in Iran, and the persecuted Roma community in Europe. If anyone is discriminating, it’s Senate Democrats, who, in these harrowing days of faith-based genocide, can’t put politics aside and join Republicans in delivering the relief the world so desperately needs.
As Governor Brownback reiterated in his confirmation hearing, “This position of Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom is integral to our priority foreign policy goals, and if confirmed I pledge to use my energies and the range of diplomatic tools to strengthen international religious freedom issues and concerns in U.S. foreign policy.” For millions of people, this isn’t a diplomatic mission — it’s a rescue mission. “Time is short,” Sam warned. “Every passing day finds more people persecuted, imprisoned, tortured, and even killed for simply practicing their innermost convictions.”
The whole world is suffering from the lack of American leadership on this issue. President Trump has done his part. It’s a disgrace that Democrats won’t do theirs.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.