I was thrilled when WORLD magazine selected Virginia Congressman Frank Wolf as the winner of its 2014 Daniel of the Year award. For more than 30 years, Congressman Wolf has traveled to war-torn countries, or places where people are starving, persecuted, or oppressed.
It’s not something many members of Congress are willing to do. After all, it’s much more fun to go on a junket to the Caribbean than to Ethiopia to hold starving babies and learn more about how the U.S. can help famine victims. It’s more enjoyable to go to Paris than to a Soviet-era gulag to meet political prisoners in stinking cells. For that matter, it’s more pleasant to just stay home than to fly to Iraq, where the sounds of grenades going off nearby forms the background music to dinner.
But because of his willingness to travel to those countries and tackle problems that too few others seem to care about, my old friend Chuck Colson called Congressman Wolf “the patron saint of unpopular causes.” Some of the world leaders he’d annoyed—like the Communist party bosses in China—call him less flattering things. But Wolf’s tireless efforts have been highly successful.
For instance, after a visit to Ethiopia in 1984, he talked President Reagan into authorizing food aid for starving Ethiopians. In 1987, he convinced Reagan to get behind a proposal to drop Most Favored Nation Status for Romania. He successfully led efforts to get Congress to do so, as well. This action is credited with helping launch the Romanian Revolution.
After Wolf visited a Soviet-era gulag in 1989, Oleg Mikhailov, a political prisoner incarcerated there, reported that Wolf’s visit was the catalyst for more humane treatment.
Congressman Wolf—concerned about the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities—also authored the International Religious Freedom Act in 1998. This Act mandated “reporting on religious freedom abuses around the world to the State Department,” as WORLD noted in its December 13 cover story about Wolf.
Wolf also sneaked into Tibet, and enraged the Chinese by exposing to the world the terrible plight of the Tibetan people.
Click here for more.