For his tireless advocacy and record of legislative accomplishment, the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society and the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University were pleased to present the Religious Liberty Award to retiring Congressman Frank Wolf. Throughout his 33-year career in Congress, Representative Wolf has championed efforts to alert the United States and the world to the plight of men, women, and children who are persecuted for living their religious convictions. Representative Wolf authored the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act, which established the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) and the International Religious Freedom Office at the State Department. Earlier this year, Congressman Wolf received the NRB Faith & Freedom Award.
The Religious Liberty Award was presented by Dean James R. Rasband of the J. Reuben Clark Law School at the Fifth Annual Religious Liberty Award Dinner in Washington, D.C., where Congressman Wolf delivered a keynote address highlighting the challenges facing religious freedom both domestically and internationally and urging the 180 people assembled not to be silent and to speak up for religious freedom. Also presented at the event were five monetary awards to winners of the 2014 Religious Liberty Essay Contest.
Congressman Wolf was introduced at the Award Dinner by Jim Tate, of the law firm Tate Bywater. Previous recipients of the Religious Liberty Award include Senator Joseph Lieberman, Professor Douglas Laycock, Becket Fund Founder Kevin J. “Seamus” Hasson, and Dr. John Graz, Secretary-General of the International Religious Liberty Association.
Congressman Wolf, of the 10th District of Virginia, is serving his 17th term in Congress. He sits on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, where he is the chairman of the Commerce-Justice-Science subcommittee. He also serves on the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development and State and Foreign Operations subcommittees. In addition, he is the co-chairman of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, a bipartisan organization which works to raise awareness about international human rights issues.
Congressman Wolf is one of the House’s leading advocates for human rights. He believes members of Congress have an obligation to speak out for those who are persecuted around the world. He has traveled to Ethiopia, Sudan, Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and other countries in Africa to see firsthand the tremendous suffering due to corrupt governments, war, AIDS and famine. He led the first congressional delegation to Darfur in western Sudan to bring attention to the crisis there, which the U.S. later declared as genocide. He also has worked to call attention to the human rights abuses and religious persecution in the People’s Republic of China, Tibet, Romania, Nagorno-Karabakh, Chechnya, Bosnia, Kosovo, East Timor, and the Middle East.
Congressman Wolf serves as co-chair of the Religious Minorities in the Middle East Caucus. Over successive administrations, long before the “Arab Spring,” he has sounded the alarm about the worsening plight of religious minorities–notably the ancient Christian communities in both Iraq and Egypt. In 1998, Congressman Wolf authored the International Religious Freedom Act, which created the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) and established the International Religious Freedom Office at the State Department headed by an ambassador-at-large. He also was the lead sponsor of legislation which successfully reauthorized the Commission last Congress.
Information from “Meet Frank Wolf” at wolf.house.gov.