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Embattled Gov. Brownback to be Ambassador of Religious Freedom

by Countable | 7.27.17

On Wednesday, President Trump announced his nomination of beleaguered Kansas Governor Sam Brownback to head the State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom.

Brownback, a convert to Roman Catholicism, responded to the news with a tweet:

"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."

If the Senate approves his nomination, Brownback will be responsible for monitoring and responding to threats to religious freedom around the world.

At a news conference on Thursday, the Republican governor accepted the nomination, saying, "I am honored to assume - if approved by the Senate - such an important role." Brownback, who’s served in both the House and Senate, continued, "The issue of religious freedom is incredibly important and this administration is committed to working on it and working aggressively on this topic. I look forward to carrying this mantle of international religious liberty and freedom around the world on a number of topics.”

The White House announced Brownback’s nomination by noting that "while a member of the Senate, he worked actively on the issue of religious freedom in multiple countries and was a key sponsor of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998."

Brownback, who has about 18 months left on his second term, said there’s no timetable for when he’ll transition to Religious Ambassador. The transition cannot happen soon enough for many in Kansas: Brownback is one of America’s least-popular governors.

In 2012, Brownback launched a series of tax cuts which he said would deliver "a shot of adrenaline" to Kansas’ economy. The former Congressman promised these cuts would make Kansas a “red state model” for the rest of the nation.

Alas, his conservative fiscal policies were more of a shot of novocaine, and they sent state revenues plummeting. In June, the Kansas legislature – including many in his own party – overrode Brownback’s veto of a bill that reversed the tax cuts.

"Sam Brownback will be remembered for becoming the most unpopular governor in America," Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley, of Topeka, said in a statement on Twitter. "His tax experiment failed to grow the economy as he promised. Instead, his policies have bankrupted our state."

Not everyone in Kansas is as critical as Hensley. Republican State Senator Ty Masterson lauded the governor’s accomplishments to the New York Times, noting that during Brownback’s tenure, Kansas went from "an abortion state to a strong anti-abortion state, and from a high-income-tax to a low-income-tax state."

Brownback’s departure would elevate Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer to the governorship.

--Josh Herman

(Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore / Creative Commons)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(115)
  • Jerry
    07/27/2017
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    Brownback proves the truth that if Trump picks you, there's something major wrong with you.

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  • Max
    07/27/2017
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    There is no threat to religious freedom. It's a disguise to allow people to discriminate freely. There is no assault on religion. You can practice your religion and I can practice mine but you can't discriminate against someone for not following your religion... that's not freedom. Also- what happened to separation of church and state?

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  • David
    07/27/2017
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    WTH ever happened to the Constitutional principle of separation of church and state? And I already thought we had an ambassador to the Vatican? I'm unalterably opposed to to turning the USA into a theocracy.

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  • Karen
    07/27/2017
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    Governor Brownback has been a disaster as a public servant. Will he work to ensure the separation of church and state? Doubtful. We have freedom of religion and freedom from religion. Brownback is a dangerous demagogue. Do not vote for approval.

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  • Azrael
    07/27/2017
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    Shhhhh Listen Hear that It's the entire state of Kansas breathing a sigh of relief This day just keeps getting better Full psych work ups and daily drug test should be mandatory for everyone receiving taxpayer money and health benefits Just read the rant of new coms director Get this man off my payroll now

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  • Roxanne
    07/27/2017
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    Do not approve Gov. Brownback. His dismal record as governor of Kansas and stance on abortion rights should preclude the possibility of his holding any position in the administration.

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  • Tammy
    07/27/2017
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    Whatever. These ridiculous, hateful people really expect us to buy the concern Over religion. Another right denying red herring. This administration makes me ill.

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  • Teresa
    07/27/2017
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    We have an Ambassador of Religious Freedom? Ugh!

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  • Sean
    07/28/2017
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    This administration is a rogues gallery of cons, thieves, liars, theocrats, and failed lobbyist-owned career politicians who shame our nation, threaten our democracy, betray the Constitution, and damage our reputation. Religious Freedom my Catholic ass. This is code for religious influence over our secular government and defies separation of church and state. #resist #ImpeachTrumpNow

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  • Kodiwodi
    07/28/2017
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    So you can be a total misogynist, confabulator,and racist, bankrupt your state, demand abstinence only be taught in your schools and deny woman abortions, be totally anti-LBGTQ, gerrymander the shit out of your state and stop all reproductive rights for women on top of shoving religion down everyone's throats and still they promote your ass to a position beating people to death with the Bible. Great way not to establish a National religion.

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  • Oneda
    07/28/2017
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    This is ludicrous! Trump has from publicly labeled Muslims as terrorists. Many in America have suffered discrimination, physical harm and desecration of their places or worship, and are now feeling unsafe. Now America has shown the world we do not have religious freedom ourselves. Why would we accept someone who support Trump's beliefs to represent religious freedom throughout the world? Give me a break. Let's start right now in our own country. Religious freedom absolutely doesn't need to be monitored or dictated by the government. What is more needed is for our leader to practice some tolerance and allow others the freedom to be who they are instead of judging, labeling and encouraging others to hate like he does. Ask Trump and/or this nominee to describe what they believe religious freedom is? Does it mean we all need to be like Trump? Absolutely not. I see no God in any of these behaviors, examples, executive actions, ethics, hate spewing and labeling and pointing the finger at. No we need to concentrate on our own country right now. We are not at all any positive example to anyone else.

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  • Shelli
    07/28/2017
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    Ambassador for Religious Freedom??? GMAFB. What we really need is an Ambassador for Logic & Reason.

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  • Dave.Land
    07/28/2017
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    "Religious freedom" has come to mean that you will knuckle under to a perverse understanding of selected Old Testament "clobber verses" that demean women and favor straight cis males, or you will surrender your freedom "for your own good because God loves you too much to leave you in sin."

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  • Joanne
    07/27/2017
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    Preventing woman from having abortions is a one sided religious freedom. If trump picked him , watch out , something no good is afoot.

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  • L
    07/28/2017
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    This a ridiculous, unnecessary appointment. It not only violates our constitution, but it would allow for those who are prejudiced to justify their actions against those with whom they disagree. We're in America, there is no place for religion in government here. Thealots have already highjacked the GOP, do we want to spread this kind of hate not only in our own country, but elsewhere? These people must be stopped!

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  • Lois
    07/28/2017
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    Why do we need an ambassador of religious freedom? We are guaranteed religious freedom under the First Amendment.

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  • Marylynn
    07/28/2017
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    I'm still trying to figure out how in the world we have a government agency for religious freedom. What happened to the separation of church and state. I wouldn't trust anyone that the Liar in Chief appoints to any position, let alone a religious position. The Liar in Chief knows nothing about the Constitution, so how much do you actually think he knows about religion? He worships the almighty dollar and himself.

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  • Laura
    07/28/2017
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    Brownback as Ambassador of Religious Freedom? Seriously? Now that's an oxymoron if I've ever heard one. Classic 45. He has "drained the swamp" by filling it with greedy money grabbing swamp monsters and he has appointed completely incompetent cabinet members who have openly voiced their desires to eliminate the very agencies they are supposed to lead who are now actively seeking to undermine those agencies. So appointing a small-minded, bigoted failure of a governor to liaison for religious freedom is certainly par for the course. (Innuendo intended.) It's an awful move on 45's part. Still, I'm happy for Kansas. Maybe now they can get their schools and public services and their state back.

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  • Patrick
    07/28/2017
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    Religious bigotry would be more like it.

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  • Jackie
    07/28/2017
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    The only threat to freedom of religion in America today are fundamentalist Christians, the Trump Administration, and spineless Congressmen who allow their brand of vitriol.

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