Raul Labrador: Exercising Religious Liberty with the Fear of Government Penalities

The following were remarks made by Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) 91% at the Heritage Action Conservative Policy Summit earlier this month.

“Regardless of where you stand on the political spectrum, I think we can all agree that the freedom of religion is one of our foundational values.”  He’s right.  After all, it is considered our “first freedom.”

“I am deeply concerned that this administration will begin to use the federal government to discriminate against individuals and organizations who believe [in] traditional marriage and believe in it for religious reasons,” he continued.  There is no shortage of examples of this.  As the Heritage Foundation’s Ryan T. Anderson notes:

Christian-adoption and foster-care agencies have been forced to stop providing those services because they object to placing children in same-sex households. Other cases include a photographer, a baker, a florist, a bed-and-breakfast, a t-shirt company, a student counselor, the Salvation Army, and more.

“The Administration already has a history of imposing their ideas on religious and faith based institutions,” Rep. Labrador added.  As the Heritage Foundation’s Leslie Ford notes, President Obama misses the mark on religious freedom:

In his proclamation for National Religious Freedom Day last year, President Obama wrote:“Foremost among the rights Americans hold sacred is the freedom to worship as we choose.” That might sound nice, but it gets the American conception of religious freedom wrong.

Religious freedom in America isn’t merely the “freedom to worship.” The American model of religious liberty protects Americans’ freedom to exercise their religious beliefs within their private spheres as well as to engage publicly on the basis of religion. That includes the ability to practice one’s faith at one’s home, place of worship, and work.

Toward the end of Rep. Labrador’s remarks, he said:

Protecting religious liberty and the rights of conscience does not infringe on anyone’s rights.  All Americans should be free to act in the public square based on their beliefs about marriage without fear of any government penalty.

Rep. Labrador’s bill, the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act (H.R. 3133) would protect our first freedom.  Read more about it here.




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