Take action to halt theocratic nominee

We’re asking for your help in stopping another religious zealot from shaping American policy.

President Trump has preposterously nominated Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback as the U.S. ambassador-at-large for religious freedom. Trump has chosen several other theocrats for contradictory posts, like asking foxes to guard the henhouse. Brownback’s views are similarly antithetical to the office for which he will be nominated.

Brownback has a distorted view of religious freedom — more akin to religious privilege. He has used his power as governor to weaponize religious freedom, changing it from a hallowed protection of the rights of individual conscience into a tool to impose religious beliefs.

The scheduled hearing date for Brownback is tomorrow, Oct. 4, before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Please, raise your secular voice and urge the committee to oppose Brownback — a threat to state and church separation.


FFRF has a long history of opposing the Kansas governor. His views on religious freedom, which he’ll be responsible for in his new post, are truly troubling.

Under the guise of “religious freedom,” Brownback legitimized discrimination by signing SB 175, “the Campus Religious Freedom Bill,” which prevents state universities from taking any action against student groups that discriminate against minorities if their religion declares it necessary. This runs up against settled Supreme Court precedent.

As a senator in 2010, Brownback joined a brief against FFRF’s lawsuit that, for a time, struck down the National Day of Prayer. When the 9th Circuit declared that “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance was unconstitutional, Brownback took to the floor of the Senate to excoriate the appeals court: “Can we declare the Constitution unconstitutional?” Apparently, he forgot that the Constitution, like the original pledge, is godless.

One of the worst breaches by Brownback came in 2012 when he proclaimed Dec. 8 as the “Day of Restoration in Kansas.” In his official capacity as Kansas governor, he appeared in a commercial for a private religious group, ReignDown USA. He beseeched people to ask for “humility to be used as salt and light in a difficult season for the United States and for our state.” The reference to salt and light invokes Matthew 5:13-16, a passage, like ReignDown’s mission, that is about converting people to Christianity.

In 2015, FFRF hammered Brownback for an executive order issued in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality, seeking to “preserve and protect” religion. The third part said that the state government “shall not take any discriminatory action against a religious organization that provides social services or charitable services, which acts or intends to act upon sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction.” This was directed at religious adoption agencies and similar organizations. Also in the aftermath of the Supreme Court judgment, Brownback removed discrimination protections for LGBT state employees with an executive order.

Kansas will get rid of an awful governor if Brownback is confirmed as ambassador, but the State Department will receive the unwelcome gift of an unfit diplomat.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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