Thank you Jonathan [Saenz] for those kind words and for everything you do over at Texas Values.
It's always good to take the stage with the Boy Scouts because they're prepared for anything.
This is a very unsettling time in our nation's history, which is why organizations like Texas Values and events like today's are so vitally important.
These are the days when something as wholesome and unassuming as a nativity scene at Christmas can generate contentious lawsuits and years of ill will.
These are the days when a person can be vilified for stating they believe that, fundamentally, marriage is between a man and a woman, and we all know the Supreme Court is currently deciding if it's going to trump the votes of our citizens and state capitols to again judicially legislate morality.
And these are the days when a group of students in Kountze, Texas, find themselves under attack because they wrote Bible verses on some banners.
In an age of teenage cynicism and immediate gratification, what those young people are doing is, simply put, amazing.
And I can't tell you how proud I am that these young people are from Texas.
The underlying problem is there's a very vocal and very litigious minority of Americans willing to legally attack anybody who dares utter a phrase, or even a name, they don't agree with.
In a twisting of logic, many of these people insist on silencing the religious in the cause of tolerance.
I ask you, where's the tolerance in that?
We are a nation built upon a free exchange of ideas.
We are also a culture built upon the concept that the original law is God's law outlined in the Ten Commandments, the moral basis for legal codes across our country and around the world.
Somewhere along the way, we've lost our way, not to mention our common sense.
Our Founding Fathers were the very first among the nations to declare our rights are "endowed by our Creator."
The public expression of faith does not threaten the Republic but enrich it. People of faith belong in the public square, where they can work to make a better, more just world.
Part of making that better, more just world is making the world free from abortion.
It's been a long struggle, and even in Texas, where we've fought hard for many, many years, we've got a ways to go.
We've banned the use of tax dollars for abortion procedures in our state and stood strong in the face of the expected backlash from that decision, proclaiming the truth that protecting the rights of abortion providers and protecting women's health is not the same thing.
We've passed laws requiring both parental notification and parental consent to their daughter's abortion ensuring parents will be involved, ready to provide much-needed guidance and advice at the most critical of moments.
We passed a law that prohibits abortion without the mother first having a sonogram because we believe that unborn children deserve the respect of recognition before their lives are tragically cut short.
While Roe v. Wade still prevents us from outlawing abortion completely, it does allow states to do some things to protect life if they can show there is a compelling state interest.
I don't think there is any issue that better fits the definition of "compelling state interest" than preventing the suffering of our state's children, including those yet unborn.
Using the adoption process and community support we can ensure each and every child is born to a loving home.
That is our goal, and someday we will meet that goal.
In the meantime, I'm also calling for measures to ensure the safety of women undergoing this procedure.
Abortion clinics should be held to the same standards as any other kind of surgical facility in the state of Texas.
And we also need to require any physician performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital.
There are those who say asking abortion clinics to live up to the standards of other surgical facilities will be too expensive for them, and they'll have to close their doors.
Well, that's up to them and their accountants.
We're only saying that any patient should have the expectation that the facilities they're using are up to standard, and that if there's an emergency situation, they can receive the care they need.
That doesn't seem like too much to ask.
Rest assured, pro-abortion forces will not go down easily.
Just yesterday, we learned that for the first time since the early 1980s, the federal government will redirect family planning funding away from our state's health agencies, and instead send it to a private organization.
This is a clear attempt by the Obama Administration to circumvent the will of Texas taxpayers and impose their own values on the people of Texas.
It's a sad reminder that our battle is far from over.
Part of the problem is people believe our values and faith make us judgmental.
We're the first to admit we're all deeply flawed and far from perfect.
Thankfully, perfection isn't required.
But faith is. Values are.
And never let anyone keep you from letting your faith and you values shine.
We are a free, pluralistic society, and I agree government should not endorse a particular religious view.
But it is quite different, and I would argue extreme to say that our laws should not be inspired and informed by the views of the faithful.
Freedom of religion is not to be confused with freedom from religion.
I fear the fact that someday, the role of faith in the public square will be limited to the point of invisibility and silence.
As the powers-that-be in Washington devise new and expensive ways to intrude on our lives, our family rights, and our livelihoods, we must become even more vigilant.
People with values must not be lulled into complacency, browbeaten into silence, or frustrated into inaction.
Instead, we must be empowered and committed to change the face of our state and nation.
We are not fighting alone nor fighting in vain.
We are making significant gains across our great nation. And I know the soul of our nation and her people are worth fighting for.
God bless you and, through you, may He continue to bless the great state of Texas.