Saturday, August 04, 2018

Jason Smith: President Trump and I will fight to preserve America as a land where people can freely live their faths

(From Eighth District Congressman Jason Smith)

America, in her earliest days, was founded as a safe haven for religious people. After our founding fathers fought a revolution and established this liberty, many Europeans fled persecution of their faiths and suffered a long, perilous pilgrimage to America to find free land. A land of people united in establishing a country unlike any other seen before, a union of free states governed by people with the freedom to live according to their own individual conscience and religious beliefs.

Religious liberty is easily taken for granted in the United States, where we are separated from hundreds of years of religious persecution on the other side of the world. Today millions of Christians still face exile, prison, torture, or worse simply for practicing their faith. ISIS regularly kills people who practice other religions and kidnaps and beheads Christians. In Africa, Boko Haram is holding hostage Leah Sharibu, a 15-year-old Christian girl kidnapped from Nigeria who refuses to denounce her faith. Iran has raided several house churches and sentenced 52 people who have converted religions to long prison sentences. And Turkish officials have been holding American pastor Andrew Brunson hostage since October 2016.

President Trump is taking important steps to guarantee religious protections within U.S. borders. President Trump’s administration established the Religious Liberty Task Force this week and has issued executive orders to federal agencies making clear that “Americans do not give up their freedom of religion by participating in the marketplace or interacting with government.” When our founding fathers established freedom of religion, it wasn’t just freedom of worship. My father was a preacher, I know that true religious liberty isn’t just choosing where you can gather and worship with like-minded people, it’s the ability to live out your faith in all aspects of your life.

“Nothing is more dreaded than the national government meddling with faith,” wrote John Adams in 1812, but unfortunately today there are many who want the federal government to force religious people into actions against their consciences and their beliefs. Two states are now suing the Little Sisters of the Poor, an Order of Catholic nuns devoted to caring for the elderly and sick, to force them to provide contraceptives under Obamacare. And it’s not just the nuns they’re after – organizations are suing to prohibit any religious expression on the graves of the soldiers who died for our freedoms.

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a troubling split decision that the Peace Cross, a 90-year-old memorial in Maryland dedicated to soldiers who gave their lives for the United States in World War I, was unconstitutional. The court applied a broad definition of “inherently religious” symbols, even though the American Legion funded and built the memorial which was specifically designed to symbolize the soldier's grave markers at their final resting place on foreign soil. This decision is troubling because it could undermine freedom of religion in the entire country. It could lead to the federal government taking down many federal monuments and historical places that use a cross or other “inherently religious” symbols, including at Arlington National Cemetery. I filed a judicial brief with Senator Ted Cruz and Representative Steve Scalise, arguing the Supreme Court should side with the American Legion and preserve the memory of fallen soldiers and their religious faith. In America we cherish the right to live your religion freely, and the federal government should not rob the soldiers who died for our freedoms and their loved ones their last expression of faith.

As a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, I am ensuring the U.S. tax code does not discriminate against people of faith. I’ve written legislation barring the government from forcing religious organizations to pay for services against their religion, and I’ve coauthored a bill that guarantees religious people who participate in health care sharing ministries will receive the same tax deductions available to others. Whether it’s guaranteeing religious organizations who provide adoption services can continue to do so within their beliefs or making sure the tax code is fair to people of all faiths, I will continue to support legislation that protects our individual freedom of faith.

Religious liberty means more than the freedom to worship where you want, our founding fathers intended it to mean the freedom to practice and live out your faith in all aspects of your life. President Trump and I share the view that when the federal government forces people to purchase or do things against their religion, it is a violation of our founding fathers’ intentions and the freedom our country was founded on. Defending our ‘first freedom’ against liberal organizations pushing the government to interject into religion will preserve America as a land where people can freely live their faiths.


Anonymous said...

I guess the Nazi groups this last year persecuting Jews or LGBT were practicing their faith with the blessing of Carrot Top. Behold a nation of tolerance changing into a nation of Stalinism or Hitlerism. Behold the new vice-President Putin and his puppy in tow. You guys do so much to denigrate others that no one has time to see through the fog of deceit that you put up. It is a sickening situation when only the Christian right have the real say-so in our country and if you have any color other than white it has to be bad. So sad.

Anonymous said...

You actually believe you need to fight to preserve America as a land where people can freely live their faiths, yet you back this orange despot you call president as he cages children he separated from their parents? You back this lying racist you call president? You fight along side this Russian loving traitor you call president as he trashes our intelligence agencies and sides with Putin? Keep fighting with this orange moron to put more tariffs on our allies while calling them enemies. Stand up for your so called president as he trashes the constitution and makes himself rich breaking the emoluments clause. Tell him how you support the first amendment while you watch him threaten the free press as long as they agree with him. Actually, that sounds about right for a "evangelical" republican. Maybe they will put you in a cell next to your orange savior along with the other complicit republicans.

Steve Holmes said...

Jason Smith is ignorant. Plenty of liberals are religious. They just don't handle snakes or speak in tongues. They believe their faith but they don't wear it on their sleeves or their t-shirts or purses or their bumper stickers. The Right does not own God.

I hope Smith and Trump plan to protect all faiths. Otherwise, it's an empty, campaign-season stunt to kiss up to conservative Christians.

Anonymous said...

I am all for this, a Mosque in every Mall.

Anonymous said...

Trump uses insults, name calling and belittling to attack those he doesn’t like or agree with.

The comments here do the same thing, making them no different than Trump.

Why not put on your thinking caps and challenge the idea or topic of the article? If I understand it correctly, it says fallen soldiers have the right to have a cross as a symbol of their faith. I 100% agree. My question is, what about the fallen who were not of the Christian faith? Don’t they have that same right to NOT have a symbol of a differening faith?

The Handmaids Tale on HULU is an extreme example of the importance of separating church and state. It also shows how valuable our right to bear arms and freedom of speech is. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights rock!

Harvey Hutchinson said...

Jason and Steve Holmes had the guts to sign their statements; not so all you cowards going by anonymous.
There’s a special place in Hell for distorting the truth and hiding behind anonymous!!

Harvey Hutchinson 303-522-6622 voice&text

anonymous phone ***-***-**** just click on them stars to see them hidden numbers said...

That there's all ok Hervey!

Don't get too worked up 'cause it causes yer blood pressure to rise.

By the way I totally disagree with any opinion you post- and that's on general principals before I even read it!

A while back my wife brought some of them Trump Toilet stickers (them little things you stick in the bowl to aim at) to improve the son's aim. He's a good young Democrat- helps with voter registration drives and such. Anyway he thought they were pretty functional and the profits go to a good cause. Besides which the wife tells me they work real well! Less floor cleaning and whatnot.

Funny thing was pretty soon after we installed them I noticed them stickers are improving my aim too!

A happy mama is always a good thing. Anyway I was wondering if I could get some
Smilin' Hervey Toilet stickers made up? My son is in junior high but he's pretty smart and he told me I'd better ask before I get some printed up.

So I'm askin- who is interested in buyin?

Anonymous said...

>>>There’s a special place in Hell for distorting the truth<<<

I wonder if this has anything to do with the Orange Twitlers twitter diarrhea?

I mean, he knows he is distorting the truth...doesn't he?

Anonymous said...

Oh, Harvey. Your statement about the truth is so hypocritical. You spew garbage with no facts to back it up. So does that mean your distorted opinions and lies have reserved a stall in Hell for you?