Lankford Recognized for Ongoing Work to Promote Religious Liberty Worldwide


WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today received the Hero on the Hill award from Jeff King, President of the International Christian Concern (ICC), for his work to bring to light the persecution of people of faith around the world and his work to advance religious freedom.

“In our nation, we have the right to have a faith, live that faith, and change our faith without persecution from our government,” said Lankford. “We should stand up for the rights of any person in any nation to also live their faith, change their faith, or to have no faith. Nations with blasphemy, heresy, and apostasy laws designed to persecute people of faith must end.”

Lankford has been a leader in advancing religious liberty around the world.  Lankford and Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) previously introduced a resolution to call for the global repeal of blasphemy, heresy, and apostasy laws. The resolution passed the Senate unanimously last Congress, and a similar resolution passed in the House by a vote of 386-3. Blasphemy laws affect Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Bahá’í, secularists, and many other groups. The US Commission on International Religious Freedom’s (USCIRF) research has found that blasphemy charges are often based on false accusations, are used for sectarian or political purposes, and foster religious intolerance, discrimination, and violence. They found that at least 41 countries enforced blasphemy laws between 2014 and 2018. 

In May, Lankford sent a letter to President Biden on the pressing need for him to immediately nominate an Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom. He also recently responded to the release of the USCIRF annual report. Earlier this year, Lankford continued his push to hold China accountable for its abuses of Uyghurs when he introduced a bill that will ensure goods made with Uyghur forced labor in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) do not enter the US.

This summer, Lankford received the inaugural International Religious Freedom (IRF) Champion Award, presented by Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback under the Trump Administration.

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. 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. 

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.