Catholic Appointed as US Ambassador for Religious Freedom

by Rodney Pelletier  •  •  January 25, 2018   

Sam Brownback is the first Catholic to head up Office of International Religious Freedom

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WASHINGTON ( - Senate confirms Trump appointee and Catholic Kansas governor, Sam Brownback, as the ambassador for international religious freedom.

On Wednesday, Vice-President Mike Pence broke a 49–49 vote tie in the Senate, making Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback — a pro-life Catholic convert — the fifth U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom. It's Pence's seventh tie-breaker since taking office just over a year ago.


Brownback will head up the Office of International Religious Freedom, a branch of the U.S. State Department, which helps the administration to form policies by monitoring religious persecution and discrimination around the world.

The office's job is to:

  • Promote freedom of religion and conscience throughout the world as a fundamental human right and as a source of stability for all countries
  • Assist emerging democracies in implementing freedom of religion and conscience
  • Assist religious and human rights non-government organizations in promoting religious freedom
  • Identify and denounce regimes that are severe persecutors on the basis of religious belief

Brownback is the first Catholic to hold the position. Previous ambassadors, Robert Seiple, John Hanford and Suzan Johnson Cook, are Protestant, while David Saperstein, the most recent ambassador, is Jewish.

He converted to Catholicism in 2002 after battling cancer and has been fervent in the Faith since. He also ran in the 2008 U.S. presidential election, was a state senator and two-term state governor.

As a two-term governor, he has a remarkable pro-life record, helping to make Kansas one of the most pro-life states.

Brownback announced on Thursday that he is resigning as governor, effective January 31.

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