2. Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS)
When Sam Brownback was first elected to Congress in 1994, he refused to sign the Contract with America that set the Republican agenda for Newt Gingrich and his fellow revolutionaries. Not conservative enough. Since that time, Brownback’s career has been defined by his deep and evolving religious beliefs.
Labeled “God’s Senator” by Rolling Stone, the Kansas senator admits to being a fundamentally changed man since surviving a cancer diagnosis in 1995. He has been something of a curiosity on Capitol Hill due to his changing religious affiliation (he’s switched twice since being elected and is currently a Roman Catholic) and his seemingly genuine—but decidedly goofy—behavior. At an office farewell party, he washed the feet of the departing staffer, later describing it as the “biblical model of what servant leadership is.” And he once pondered aloud in a speech about ways to make the world a better place: “When we walk up to the McDonald’s counter, what if we looked at that person in the eye … and we said, ‘God bless you for that Big Mac?'”
Brownback has long involved himself in trying to help people in Sudan, and persuaded the TV show Touched by an Angel to do an episode about a senator who becomes deeply affected by his suffering. When asked his views on Angel, he admitted, “When I see the show, I regularly cry.”