by Chris Mann
My childhood was spent between the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio and Arlington, Virginia. I have no idea who represented my hometown of Solon, Ohio between 1978-1984 but Congressman Frank Wolf was so unique that even a politically ignorant kid like me was aware of this man's work. Renowned as a deeply devout Christian who walked circles around the talk of liberal human rights advocates, Congressman Wolf has built an amazing career as a conservative congressman representing a very liberal demographic in Northern Virginia, part of Washington's suburbia.
This week, World Magazine named Mr. Wolf as Daniel of the Year 2014for his 30 years (17 terms in Congress) of tireless work around the world on behalf the poor, downtrodden and oppressed.
Highlights from World's report:
"Wolf’s blunt style isn’t always popular, but it’s often effective: Starving people have eaten, political prisoners have gone free, and Christians have found relief because of his tenacity. Even when he doesn’t prevail, he persists."
"Chuck Colson of Prison Fellowship once called Wolf “the patron saint of unpopular causes.” He added: “There is no one in American public life I admire more.”""Wolf focused on at least two things: reading presidential biographies in the library and overcoming a debilitating stutter. He eventually took multiple speech therapy classes to battle the impediment, but the most useful treatment helped forge his political career: He forced himself to speak when it was easier to stay quiet. "
"WHEN U.S. LEGISLATORS VISIT FOREIGN COUNTRIES, they often travel in groups, stay at Western hotels, meet with government officials, and avoid danger. Wolf on his first trip overseas left behind that checklist. ...The trip galvanized him. When he returned, Wolf asked to brief President Ronald Reagan as a member of the appropriations committee handling foreign aid. Within a few days, Reagan authorized food shipments to Ethiopia."
"[Cold War-era Romanian] Government officials tried to shut down one congregation before the congressmen visited. Instead, the church was packed and the members were singing a hymn when they arrived. Christians pressed notes into Wolf’s hand with messages like: “My son is in prison,” and “My husband disappeared.”...[Congressman Wolf] gave [President Ronald ] Reagan a copy of a Romanian defector’s exposé of the Ceausescu regime and met with the president in person. In November 1987, Reagan wrote in his diary that after meeting with Wolf and others he changed his mind: “I’ve proposed … to drop Romania’s most favored nation status until they clean up their human rights act.” Two years later, Ceausescu’s regime fell.
Meeting with Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng"Wolf’s concern for religious freedom doesn’t extend only to Christians facing persecution. In 1997 he slipped into Tibet and managed to tour the region without Chinese handlers—something no other member of Congress had done since China took over Tibet in 1959. (Wolf didn’t inform the U.S. government of his plans.) "