By Regina Dennis, WacoTrib.com (Texas)
Baylor University has tapped a retired congressman with a record of combating religious persecution across the globe to advance the university’s goals of protecting the freedom of religious practice.
Frank Wolf, a Republican who represented Virginia’s 10th District in the U.S. House for 34 years, has been chosen as the inaugural holder of the Jerry and Susie Wilson Chair in Religious Freedom at Baylor.
Wolf will be on-campus at Baylor at least one week per semester for lectures and mentoring opportunities with students, with his first scheduled visit next month.
But Baylor President and Chancellor Ken Starr said Wolf’s primary role will be to use his connections on Capitol Hill to push measures to ensure the freedom of religious practice.
For example, Starr would like to advocate a new training program for State Department staffers that would inform and shape diplomatic exchanges over cases of religious persecution.
While Baylor is based on Christian principles, specifically Baptist ideals, Starr said the university’s aim is to champion people of different faiths who face oppression in practicing their beliefs.
“In articulating our vision about religious freedom, we have not put it in denominational terms — we have put it in terms of human rights, that every human being, as a matter of human dignity, should enjoy the right to religious liberty and freedom of conscience,” Starr said.
“We care deeply about the persecuted church, but our concern is not limited to the persecuted church. We are not going to turn a blind eye to the profound issue of religious freedom around the world and of different faiths.”