President Trump formally nominated Kansas governor Sam Brownback to serve as the ambassador at large for international freedom, according to Politico.
If confirmed by the Senate, Brownback will head the Office of International Religious Freedom within the State Department. There he will be tasked with promoting the religious freedom agenda of the administration’s foreign policy by monitoring and addressing threats that jeopardize such freedoms around the world.
On Wednesday, Brownback tweeted, “Religious freedom is the first freedom. The choice of what you do with your own soul. I am honored to serve such an important cause.”
Religious Freedom is the first freedom. The choice of what you do with your own soul. I am honored to serve such an important cause. -SDB
— Sam Brownback (@govsambrownback) July 27, 2017
Prior to serving as the governor of Kansas, Brownback championed religious freedom in Congress, focusing his efforts on legislation to protect religious freedom. In particular, he helped craft the International Freedom Act of 1998, which established the office he will be heading if confirmed.
Brownback served in the House of Representatives in 1995 and 1996 and in the Senate from 1996 to 2011, when he won the Kansas governorship.
Religious freedom advocates praised the Brownback’s nomination.
“Governor Brownback’s legacy of promoting and defending religious liberty both in the United States and overseas is strong,” said Montserrat Alvarado, executive director of The Becket Fund, a non-profit religious liberty law firm. “As a U.S. Senator, he was one of the motive forces behind the passage of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, key legislation that ensures that the policy of the United States will be to support religious liberty internationally. His robust experience defending religious freedom for people of all faiths makes him uniquely qualified to lead America’s international defense of this most sacred and fundamental of human rights, religious freedom.”
The position of ambassador at large for religious freedom was last held by Rabbi David Saperstein, the former director of the Union for Reform Judaism’s Religious Action Center.