Congressman Doug Collins (GA-09) this morning offered, and the House of Representatives passed 400-1, H.Con. Res. 58, a resolution aimed at stopping the Obama administration's attempts to limit the First Amendment right of freedom of religion on military bases during the government shutdown.
Congressman Collins offered this legislation after news reports surfaced over the past 24 hours that the Obama administration had begun using the current government shutdown to inhibit the free expression of religion, guaranteed by the First Amendment, to members of the military. This resolution expresses the sense of the Congress that despite furloughs, military chaplains should be permitted to perform religious services without threat or penalty of arrest for trespassing. After the vote, Congressman Collins said:
"We have a Bill of Rights for a reason--that no matter the fiscal condition of the federal government, the rights of the people are guaranteed. This is a week that has seen veterans denied their right to assemble at our national monuments, travelers denied access to roads their hard-earned dollars have paid for, and now chaplains ordered to stop providing religious services to those who are selflessly willing to lay down their lives for ours. Denying the free expression of religion on military bases is unprecedented during a government shutdown and another shameless political ploy by President Obama's administration to make average Americans suffer the most from Senate Democrats' refusal to negotiate. Congress is duty bound to act as quickly as possible to protect the rights of the American people, and I am proud that we did so today."
Congressman Collins has been a chaplain in the United States Air Force since 2002 and served a combat tour in Iraq in late 2008.