Brownback closes book on ambassadorship of international religious freedom

    Former Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, U.S. ambassador at large for international religious freedom, departs the post Wednesday following the re-election defeat of President Donald Trump to Democrat Joe Biden. (Screenshot of U.S. State Department briefing/Kansas Reglector)
    Former Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, U.S. ambassador at large for international religious freedom, departs the post Wednesday following the re-election defeat of President Donald Trump to Democrat Joe Biden. (Screenshot of U.S. State Department briefing/Kansas Reglector)

    TOPEKA — Former Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s service as U.S. ambassador at large of international religious freedom ends Wednesday with close to the administration of President Donald Trump.

    Brownback departs the State Department along with another Kansan, Mike Pompeo, who has been the nation’s secretary of state since 2018. Both represented Kansas districts in the U.S. House, with Brownback also serving in the U.S. Senate.

    After the violent assault Jan. 6 on the U.S. Capitol, Brownback said the United States would promptly “demonstrate to the world that our democracy is resilient when we complete a peaceful transition of power” to President-elect Joe Biden.

    Brownback praised action Tuesday by Pompeo declaring the Chinese government’s repression of Uighurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities, including forced sterilization and internment camps, as crimes against humanity and genocide. Brownback said the Chinese Communist Party had disregarded human rights for decades.

    “We will not be silent about the CCP’s war on faith and belief,” he said. “Its abuses are crimes against humanity and genocide, plain and simple. Beijing’s horrendous atrocities against Uyghurs and members of other religious and ethnic minority groups cannot be tolerated.”

    On social media, Brownback said it was an honor to serve at the State Department with Pompeo. Brownback resigned as governor to assume duties as ambassador Feb. 1, 2018.

    In June, Brownback discussed accomplishments of the Trump administration in the cause of religious freedom.

    “This administration has answered the call to fight for people of all faiths everywhere,” he said. “It’s been a very fulfilling job for me working with incredible staff and pushing for religious freedom in every corner of the globe.

    “Yet, the state of religious freedom remains far from perfect and very troubling. In many places of the world, individuals have become more familiar with religious oppression than religious freedom.”

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    Tim Carpenter
    Tim Carpenter has reported on Kansas for 35 years. He covered the Capitol for 16 years at the Topeka Capital-Journal and previously worked for the Lawrence Journal-World and United Press International. He has been recognized for investigative reporting on Kansas government and politics. He won the Kansas Press Association's Victor Murdock Award six times. The William Allen White Foundation honored him four times with its Burton Marvin News Enterprise Award. The Kansas City Press Club twice presented him its Journalist of the Year Award and more recently its Lifetime Achievement Award. He earned an agriculture degree at Kansas State University and grew up on a small dairy and beef cattle farm in Missouri. He is an amateur woodworker and drives Studebaker cars.