Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Frank Wolf: American Hero

I don’t often find myself shouting “amen” to the opinions of the editorial board of the Washington Post.  And my list of heroes is scarcely crammed with politicians.  But today a hero of mine who happens to be a politician was praised in a Washington Post editorial.  That hero is Congressman Frank Wolf who yesterday announced that he will not seek re-election to the United States House of Representatives.  Mr. Wolf has served the people of his congressional district in Virginia for more than thirty-two years.

Why is he a hero?

The editorial board of the Post tells the story pretty well.  They note that he has been a powerful voice in defense of the sanctity of human life in all stages and conditions and marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife, though they do not praise him for that as I would.  They praise him for his remarkable work in defense of international religious freedom and other human rights.  They rightly applaud his “his unstinting advocacy for human rights and oppressed minorities in dangerous and unlovely corners of the world that most members of Congress were content to ignore.”  They recall that

“[i]n service of those principles, Mr. Wolf slipped into Tibet amid a group of trekkers to investigate the Chinese government’s abuse of Buddhist monks, nuns and others. He led the first congressional delegation to Darfur and returned repeatedly to Sudan to call attention to the mass killing there. His visits to Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya and other hot spots reflected his zeal for justice and his conviction that the United States should be a champion for decency and democracy."

Here is a link to the editorial.


In announcing his retirement, Mr. Wolf said:

"As a follower of Jesus, I am called to work for justice and reconciliation, and to be an advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves.  I plan to focus my future work on human rights and religious freedom – both domestic and international – as well as matters of the culture and the American family.  My passion for these issues has been influenced by the examples of President Ronald Reagan, former Congressmen Jack Kemp and Tony Hall, Chuck Colson, and the life of 18-19th century Member of Parliament William Wilberforce."

If the oppressed people of China, North Korea, Sudan, South Asia, and other places got to choose an American politician to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, I have no doubt that their choice would be Frank Wolf—in a heartbeat.  Sadly, the actual Nobel committee will no doubt overlook his work and witness for justice.  Here in the U.S., however, Democrats and Republicans should join in petitioning the president to honor Mr. Wolf with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.


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