Former Congressman Frank Wolf, author of the International Religious Freedom Act, told Breitbart News on Wednesday he believes President Donald Trump has the “right team” in place to advance religious freedom around the globe.
“There’s an expression: Personnel is policy,” Frank Wolf told Breitbart News at a reception where he was honored for the law he sponsored 20 years ago as part of the first-ever U.S.-led Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom at the U.S. State Department in Washington, DC.
The “team” Wolf is referring to includes the president, Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback, and the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USIRF).
Wolf said the State Department will be on the frontline of fighting for religious freedom around the world. He said the agency should return to policies put in place under President Ronald Reagan, including training personnel on matters of religious persecution.
“The goal would be every U.S. Embassy all over the world would be an island of freedom — that’s the way it used to be in the ‘80s,” Wolf said.
On the second day of the ministerial, Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan spoke about how the U.S. wants to work with the more than 80 delegations that took part in the gathering.
“Yesterday’s discussion focused on equipping civil society with the tools to get the resources you need to facilitate your important work,” Sullivan said. “Today is all about listening to you so that we can better understand the threats to religious freedom around the world and improve our protection of this precious right.”
“You are the first line of defense and often the first support network to those who are persecuted or attacked,” Sullivan said. “Please know we stand with you.”
“You are vigilant to report violations to our government and to others, and we hear you,” Sullivan said. “And you are staunch advocates so that no person or government can silence with impunity another individual or group for living out their faith. We defend you. So thank you for your commitment, thank you for the risks you take for this cause and thank you for being here today to help us better defend and promote religious freedom around the world.”
Two USCIF commissioners spoke with Breitbart News about the significance of the historic ministerial meeting.
“It sends a very loud and clear message that the United States puts a priority on religious freedom and when it comes to that first freedom America is back,” Commissioner Tony Perkins told Breitbart News. “No longer are we going to allow the religious minorities of the world — be they Muslims, be they Christians, be they Yazidis — to suffer.”
“We won’t turn a blind eye to their suffering,” Perkins said.
Perkins, who is also president of the Family Research Council, also cited the people the president has assembled to advance the cause of religious freedom and called the ministerial event “revolutionary.”
Commission Gary Bauer praised the people behind the ministerial and its purpose.
“I’ve been in Washington for more decades than I care to remember and this is the first time that I recall that there’s been such an over the top emphasis by an administration on this concept that religious liberty is a universal right that the United States ought to be defending all over the world with the power of our example and with intervention,” Bauer said.
“I think it’s sending a very strong message,” Bauer said.
Wolf said he was thrilled about the ministerial and while there is much more work to be done he is glad to see the United States make global religious freedom a priority.
“I think this ministerial can be a game changer in a very positive way,” Wolf said.
“Our goal is simple,” Mike Pompeo said in an op-ed on Tuesday. “To promote the God-given human right to believe what you want to believe.”
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