Millions of Americans saw their religious freedom come under attack on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives this week. The principles outlined in the First Amendment are the building blocks of American liberty. The first individual freedom codified by our founding fathers, the right to practice any religion, provides us a basis from which to judge modern politicians.
House Democrats forced through a bill this week that limits the protection of religious freedom. Charities and private businesses would be stripped of the rights currently afforded to them by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Religious organizations would either be forced to violate their beliefs or shut down on the basis of discrimination. Churches and charities would be required to establish unisex bathrooms. If they failed to do so, they could be forced to close their doors.
This bill not only threatens the freedom to practice religion, but also the lives of newborn infants across the country. Shockingly, it would also drastically increase the rate of abortions in America. The bill directly states, “pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition shall not receive less favorable treatment than other physical conditions…” This craftily-worded language offers no protections for pro-life states that prohibit taxpayer funding for abortion. Healthcare providers who object to performing an abortion could face serious penalties based on purposefully-ambiguous language. The idea that anyone could face penalty for choosing not to do something in conflict with their deeply held religious beliefs violates the notion that we control our own free will. A government rooted in liberty should not compel action from anyone.
Congressional Democrats have placed the rights of a vocal minority over the rights of the vast majority of Americans. A big government mandate of this degree is a severe overreach. I am strongly opposed to such a gross violation of our Constitution and will continue to fight efforts to limit the freedom of religion. I am a proud “NO” on this bill.
Lance Gooden represents Texas’ 5th Congressional District