After nearly 35 years representing Northern Virginia in Congress, former Republican Rep. Frank R. Wolf plans to lead Baylor University's efforts on Capitol Hill.
Wolf, who was an outspoken defender of religious minorities during his congressional career, particularly Christians in Iraq and Egypt, has been appointed the first Jerry and Susie Wilson Chair in Religious Freedom. The Texas-based university announced the move Monday, following the 75-year-old's announcement in December 2013 that he planned to retire and pursue humanitarian work. Baylor's president and chancellor, famed Washington lawyer and George Bush administration Solicitor General Kenneth W. Starr, welcomed the "'conscience' of Congress" to the role. Starr stated Wolf's appointment "represents a remarkable opportunity to advance the study and protection of the essential right of religious freedom and to vigorously address the profound issues of religious liberty and Christianity’s contributions to human flourishing throughout the world.”
Wolf will focus on foreign policy and diplomacy, as he did during his 17 terms as a lawmaker. During his tenure, he traveled to extensively in Africa, Asia and the Middle East to call attention to human rights abuses and religious persecution.
While in Congress, Wolf authored legislation to establish the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and the International Religious Freedom Office at the State Department. He also founded and served as co-chairman of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, a bipartisan organization made up of nearly 200 members of Congress who work on international human rights issues. In 2004, he led the first congressional delegation to Darfur with then-Sen. Sam Brownback, of Kansas.
According to the release, Wolf will also focus on "fostering and facilitating the understanding of Christianity as a liberator of pressing social issues, such as human trafficking, women’s rights, rights of refugees and human suffering both domestically and internationally."
Corrected, Jan. 20, 9:25 a.m. An earlier version of this post misstated the name of the Jerry and Susie Wilson Chair in Religious Freedom, due to being provided incorrect information.
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