Congressman Frank Wolf, a Republican who represented Virginia in the United States House of Representatives for 34 years, and Ambassador Tony P. Hall, a Democrat who represented Ohio in the U.S. House of Representatives for more than 20 years and served as U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.’s Agencies for Food and Agriculture, discuss the importance of Christians standing up for religious freedom and human rights around the world on Thursday, Sept. 15, at noon in Winter Hall’s Darling Foundation Lecture Hall (Room 210) at Westmont. The Political Science Lecture, “Friendship Across the Aisle: Bipartisanship in Pursuit of Justice, Human Rights and Religious Freedom,” is co-sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute, and is free and open to the public. For more information, contact organizer Jesse Covington, associate professor of political science, at (805) 565-6784.
“The talk will focus on their bipartisan friendship (based on a shared faith) and their work across the political aisle to protect the vulnerable and pursue the common good,” Covington says. “This kind of conversation is important because partisan polarization seems to characterize much of politics today, especially during an acrimonious election season, so it’s important to see how bipartisan cooperation remains possible. Moreover, it’s profitable to see how shared faith and care for the common good can play a role in transcending partisan divisions.”
Wolf is a distinguished senior fellow of the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative, a newly created religious freedom advocacy group, and the first Wilson Chair in Religious Freedom at Baylor University. He authored the International Religious Freedom Act, which created the International Religious Freedom Office at the U.S. Department of State and established the bipartisan, independent U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
Wolf is also the author of legislation to create a special envoy at the State Department to advocate for religious minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia. Wolf founded and served as co-chair of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, a bipartisan organization comprised of nearly 200 members of Congress who work together to raise awareness about international human rights issues. Wolf’s memoir, “Prisoner of Conscience,” focuses on some of the work he has done.
Hall is a leading advocate for hunger relief programs and improving human rights conditions in the world. He has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize three times. In 2002, President George W. Bush asked him to serve as ambassador. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate and sworn in by Secretary of State Colin Powell. He retired from official diplomatic service in 2006, and currently serves as executive director of the Alliance to End Hunger, which engages diverse institutions in building the public and political will to end hunger at home and abroad.