Byron Johnson

Press Release: RFI Welcomes Nomination of Governor Sam Brownback as Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom

Press Release

RFI Welcomes Nomination of Governor Sam Brownback as Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom

July 27, 2017, Washington, D.C. (Religious Freedom Institute— The Religious Freedom Institute applauds the nomination of Governor and former U.S. Senator Sam Brownback as U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, and calls upon the Senate to confirm him quickly.  

Governor Brownback’s wealth of experience, influence, and passion for religious liberty make him an outstanding choice to elevate international religious freedom to the front ranks of U.S. foreign policy, and to involve all U.S. foreign affairs agencies in that process.  

“With 16 years in Congress – including 14 in the U.S. Senate – Governor Brownback is well-known throughout Washington for his staunch commitment to religious freedom for people of all faiths around the globe,” said Tom Farr, president of the Washington-based Religious Freedom Institute. “He merits bipartisan support and swift confirmation from his former colleagues in the U.S. Senate.”  Farr also directs Georgetown University’s Religious Freedom Research Project and served as the founding Director of the State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom.  

“A growing body of social science research demonstrates that robust protections for religious freedom promote economic growth, increase political and social stability, and undermine violent religious extremism and terrorism,” said Religious Freedom Institute Senior Advisor Byron Johnson.

“Under Governor Brownback’s leadership, U.S. international religious freedom policy can advance human rights and, at the same time, make substantial contributions to the national security of the United States at very low cost.”  Johnson is Director of Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion. He also directs RFI’s United States Action Team.

The Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom coordinates international religious freedom policies across all U.S. agencies, is to report directly to the Secretary of State, and oversees the Office of International Religious Freedom at the U.S. State Department. Governor Brownback will be the fifth person to hold the position, succeeding Rabbi David Saperstein who vacated the position in January 2017.

The Religious Freedom Institute (RFI) works to secure religious freedom for everyone, everywhere. The RFI is a non-profit, non-partisan organization based in Washington, D.C.

Media Contact: Jeremy P. Barker

Byron Johnson Moderates Debate Measuring Contribution of Faith to American Economy

United States Action Team Director, Byron Johnson, moderated a debate of new research measuring the contribution of faith to American society from Brian Grim, President, Religious Freedom and Business Foundation and Associate Scholar at the Religious Freedom Project. 

While much conversation about religion in contemporary society focuses on the negative aspects of religion, from terrorism to clerical abuse, this new research, the first of its kind, seeks to quantify the contribution of faith to the American economy. Historically, religion has been viewed as a force for good in American society, and this research demonstrates by one measure, exactly how much good it does. 

The debate featured Brian Grim, John J. DiIulio, and Byron Johnson, who examined the merits of the study, as well as its limitations and opportunities for continued work on the topic.

The event: Measuring Faith: Quantifying and Examining Religion's Contributions to American Society was co-hosted by the Religious Freedom Project of Georgetown University's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and the Institute for the Studies of Religion at Baylor University. 

Learn More about the Faith Counts research: The Socio-Economic Contributions of Religion to American Society: An Empirical Analysis

Photo Credit: Religious Freedom Project / Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs.