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National Day of Prayer and the War on Terrorism

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Location: Washington, DC


NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER AND THE WAR ON TERRORISM -- (House of Representatives - May 06, 2004)

The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Cole). Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from New Mexico (Mr. Pearce) is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mr. PEARCE. Mr. Speaker, I rise to address this body on the National Day of Prayer.

The Constitution-in a word-is the document that defines the values and principles of America.

Nearly 220 years ago, a few men, with extraordinary vision, used the lessons that history taught us to create this binding document that has served as the burning touch of our Nation's freedom. But over time, that flame has been has been dimmed, and its power has been mitigated, and before we know it, it will be a dull light that is indecipherable.

You see, over time, Mr. Speaker, we have let the Judiciary, slowly chip away the freedoms that are guaranteed to us under the constitution-chipping away so much that some of our liberties are unrecognizable.

For example, Mr. Speaker, the First Amendment to the Constitution says, "Congress shall make no laws respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ....." It says that those of us who have faith in a Higher Power have the right to pray, express our beliefs.

Yet, our Federal Judges have ruled out prayer in schools. They have ruled that the Pledge of Allegiance, particularly, "..... one Nation, under God ....." is a violation of separation of state doctrine. Those who would ban our inalienable right to express our beliefs in a higher power selectively choose to cite the first part of the clause that says "Congress shall make no laws respecting an establishment of religion ....." They leave the second part, which says "..... or prohibiting free exercise thereof ....."

Congress opens up every session with a prayer, the President of the United States uses a Bible when he is sworn into office by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The Declaration of Independence, arguably the single most powerful political document in world history, mentions God in the first paragraph and "divine Providence" in the last.

Religion in the public sector is not prohibited by the Constitution, the Constitution is what makes our ability to freely exercise our belief possible!

The Second Amendment to the Constitution says, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." Some would argue, and unfortunately some have successfully done so, that this is not an individual right, but a collective right associated with service in a militia, or in modern terms the National Guard.

The Founders had a profound understanding that individuals and their rights were the only true check against an overzealous government. After all, they had just defeated one that sought to control access to arms.

Just a moment ago I added emphasis on the "people," I did so because right belongs to them, not the President and most assuredly not the Federal Government.

The Fifth Amendment says unequivocally that no person shall ". . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without due compensation."

Yet Mr. Speaker, in my district of Southern New Mexico, we can't water our crops because our water is being diverted for a minnow based on science that only a writer of fiction could love. We have people who are prevented from using their God-given resources to feed, clothe, house and provide energy for their neighbors.

The Endangered Species Act, Mr. Speaker, was noble in its intent and just in its cause. Not one of us would seek the termination of a species. Yet the law has been twisted, turned and implemented in ways that directly violate our
constitutional rights. Simply stated, and directly supported by the plain wording of the 5th Amendment, Uncle Sam can't take our property without due process. He definitely can't take it without compensating for the loss. So we must ask ourselves, when does it matter to us enough to make a difference?

And the Tenth Amendment says that we have States Rights, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." Yet the Federal government, at the behest of highly objectionable rulings by the courts over the last 100 years, has intruded on every aspect of our lives and ignored those rights reserved for the states and the people.

We know that we live under a constitution, but we are living in a time when the Constitution only means what the Judiciary says it means-simply stated, we can't let that happen.

The constitution has been tyrannized by people who honestly believe that we are incapable, as a free people, of living our lives in the manner that best serves us and our families. The courts have been willing accomplices and many of the core freedoms that are guaranteed to us under the constitution have been slowly but continuously taken from us.

I believe that the Constitution has been treated unjustly by the courts, and I believe we need to take a look at how our Constitution-this symbol of freedom-can be returned to its rightful place as the foundation of our freedom-instead of being just another document that tourists visit at the National Archives in Washington.

Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and the Framers of the Constitution feared tyranny from the judiciary more than from the other two branches, so they placed deliberate limitations on the judiciary.

As a result, under their plan, "the Judiciary is beyond comparison the weakest of the three departments of power ..... [and] the general liberty of the people can never be endangered from the quarter."

These are not my words, but taken directly from the Federalists Papers. Can there be any doubt that our forefathers saw a danger to our way of life and intentionally erected a wall of separation to protect us from it?

There shouldn't be a doubt, but it stares us in the face every day.

The bottom line is, Americans should not have to fear "judge-made laws" as a reality of life. We elect our legislators to make our laws, we elect the executive branch to implement those laws, and the judiciary is charged with holding people accountable to these laws and determining the constitutionality of laws.

There should be no doubt, either, that government is the greatest, if not only, threat to individual liberty. Neither the United States, nor any of the branches of the government, nor the states, is the ultimate authority of the Constitution.
The ultimate authority of the Constitution is the people of the Union, just like Thomas Jefferson said.

We need to make sure that the Constitution doesn't just stay locked up in a display case at the National Archives on Pennsylvania Avenue. We need to bring it into our homes, our schools, our businesses, and our courtrooms.

Only then can we make sure that our schools are symbols of freedom-that our families are symbols of freedom ..... that our businesses are symbols of freedom ..... that our state legislatures, and local governments are symbols of
freedom.

When its all said and done, my greatest desire is for my grandchildren to look back on their grandfather and their neighbors and say, "They left us a better country than they inherited. They cared enough to protect freedom for the generations to come."

Mr. Speaker, I was in Vietnam in 1971, 1972, the early part of 1973, and the early part of 1974. I was in Vietnam flying when Jane Fonda made her visit to the north giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

Mr. Speaker, I was in Vietnam, or on my way there, when the presumptive Democrat candidate threw his ribbons across the fence into the dumpster or his friends or his medals, or some similarity of that representation, of our country.

Mr. Speaker, as I listen to the comments from the floor of the House that said that this war is not winnable, I would remind my colleagues that all wars are unwinnable in the heart; and as they seek to undermine the will of the American people, they should consider carefully what they are doing.

Mr. Speaker, we must complete the job that we started before the terrorists complete the job that they started.

Mr. Speaker, I was in France on 9-11. So I was compelled to fly to come back to this country as soon as flight service was restarted. I came through Dallas-Ft. Worth about 10 days after the attacks.

Mr. Speaker, when I came through Dallas-Ft. Worth regional airport, that bustling busy hub of much of the traffic, the air traffic in the western United States, I think that our plane was the only one deplaning. I looked up and down the corridors and walked the full distance to the baggage check without seeing one other plane deplaning. Mr. Speaker, when I went to get a cab to go to the hotel, there was not one cab available because there were no passengers to ask for cabs.

As I finally got a transport van from the hotel, arrived at the hotel to find that there were very, very few customers in the hotel. Mr. Speaker, our economy was this close to collapsing. If we first lose the airlines and the cab industries and the hotel industries and the hospitality industries, we are looking at losing banks and financial institutions and insurance companies.

Mr. Speaker, the terrorists set out to do a job a decade ago first attacking the twin towers of the World Trade Center.
Mr. Speaker, they did that attack in 1993 and then again in 2001. If we are going to sit on our heels trying a policy of appeasement to deal with the terrorists, I will tell you that the terrorists will win because we cannot sustain repeated attacks on our economy and of the civilian population of America like occurred on September 11, 2001. There are estimates that that cost alone, that one day, exceeded $2 trillion, Mr. Speaker.

Our economy is $11 trillion. So we took over 15 percent, close to 20 percent of our economy out in one day, not to mention the 2,000 lives.

Mr. Speaker, what I hear from the House floor and what I hear from my friends on the other side of the aisle sounds more partisan when I put it in context of the many complaints that I should have heard from them under the deployments that President Clinton had. We went into Bosnia in the early part of the 1990s, and President Clinton said we would be out by the end of that year. Instead, troops are still there today. Yet, I do not hear one comment about his deployment into Bosnia.

If the names Kosovo, Somalia, Haiti, and Macedonia do not mean anything to my colleagues, those are additional areas in which the previous President dispatched our troops to try to stabilize a very unstable region.

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Clinton launched cruise missiles into Sudan and Iraq, into Haiti with no U.N. resolution. Yet I hear no comments from the floor of this House.

So when I hear my colleagues saying that this war is unwinnable, I think that they are engaged in partisan politics which strikes at the very desire of this country to fight its war. And when I watched the aid and comfort of 1971 and 1972 by the presumptive Democrat candidate for President and Jane Fonda, I am beginning to hear a similar tone.

I will tell you, Mr. Speaker, as one of the Vietnam vets who returned to this country without one public or private official saying thank for your time, Mr. Speaker, I caution our friends to be careful of the rhetoric they use.

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