Most Republicans are familiar with Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback’s passionate views against abortion and embryonic stem cell research.

But when Brownback addresses delegates on the final night of the GOP’s national convention next week, he plans to promote his “whole life” philosophy, which links his anti-abortion stand with a call to value life “at every stage.”

That means making it a priority to fight poverty and injustice around the world — whether it’s working to stop genocide in Darfur, curb human trafficking in Asia or halt the spread of AIDS in Africa.

He wants to show that Republicans who accept the “whole life” ethic have more of a claim as the party for compassion and social justice than Democrats.

“It’s a philosophical position for the party that we’re fighting to get the party to embrace,” Brownback said in an interview.

He said Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and running mate Joe Biden want people to ignore the Democratic Party’s positions on taxes, abortion and gay marriage, yet still claim the high ground on broader social justice issues.

“What I’m saying is: Look at where the Republican Party is on whole life,” Brownback said. “That message competes directly with what I believe Obama and Biden will try to pitch. The Republican party can be one of compassion, and there’s a philosophical consistency for us that doesn’t exist in their position.”

Brownback’s prominent role at the convention is testament to his influential role in helping presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain reach out to the religious right. After his own White House campaign ended, Brownback quickly became a surrogate for McCain and worked to ease concerns, especially among conservative Catholics, who were suspicious of whether McCain accepts their social policies.

Brownback said McCain’s recent performance at a forum at the Rev. Rick Warren’s California megachurch did much to help his standing with social conservatives. McCain said human rights begin at conception.

“I’ve gotten very positive feedback from that,” Brownback said. “That’s really helped my efforts out a lot.”

As far has his convention speech, Brownback said he’s honored about his prominent placement next Thursday “because that’s the big night.”

It is not clear when Brownback will give his speech, but it’s expected to be in prime time.

Brownback said he is optimistic about McCain’s chances given recent polls showing the Arizona Republican moving up in several swing states.

“People know the soaring rhetoric out of Obama, and it’s beautiful. Now, as they dig more into the policies, they go, ‘That’s just not the direction I want to go.”’