07.15.21

Lankford Recognized for His Leadership in Protecting Religious Freedom

CLICK HERE to watch Lankford’s award presentation on YouTube. 

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today received the inaugural International Religious Freedom (IRF) Champion Award, presented by Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback under the Trump Administration. Lankford served as honorary Senate co-chair of this year’s summit and participated in a discussion this morning at the summit’s segment entitled, “IRF in Economy, National Security, and Accountability.”

“One of the obligations of free peoples around the world is to help others who are not free. The work to export our American values through promoting international religious freedom and ending persecution based on faith is vital,” said Lankford. “By continuing to work with the many government and religious leaders, businesses, survivors, and non-governmental organizations present at this week’s important IRF summit and others, we can ensure that anyone can have a faith, live their faith, or change their faith and still not be persecuted by their government. I am committed to do my part to utilize our role as a world leader to promote the fundamental human right of religious liberty here and abroad and hold nations accountable who violate this deeply held value of freedom-loving Americans.”

Lankford has been a leader in advancing religious liberty around the world. In May, Lankford sent a letter to President Biden on the pressing need for him to immediately offer a nominee to the position of Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom. He also recently responded to the release of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom’s (USCIRF) annual report. Earlier this year, Lankford continued his push to hold China accountable for its abuses of Uyghurs when he joined Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) to introduce a bill that will ensure goods made with Uyghur forced labor in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) do not enter the US.

Last year, Lankford spoke on the Senate floor in support of the ongoing work of the US to advance international religious freedom through Ministerials to Advance Religious Freedom, like the one being held this week. He also supported President Trump’s Executive Order to Advance International Religious Freedom and joined President Trump in the oval office to welcome pastor Andrew Brunson home after working tirelessly for two years to secure his release from a Turkish prison. Lankford introduced a resolution to call for the global repeal of blasphemy, heresy, and apostasy laws around the world, which passed the Senate unanimously.

In 2019, Lankford and Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) launched the Senate Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Anti-Semitism. Lankford remains active in the Task Force and joined Rosen to re-launch the group this year, which now boasts 56 senators.

You can view Lankford’s remarks from the summit HERE.

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