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Public Statements

Destin Assembly of God - God and Country Rally

Location: Destin, FL


JULY 4, 2004

Thank you, Reverend Rogers, for your kind welcome. I appreciate your spiritual leadership for the folks of Destin.

My fellow Americans, on this Independence Day, we thank our divinely-inspired Founding Fathers and Mothers. 228 years ago, they created a country based in the understanding that there is a divine order which transcends the human order. They saw the state, in fact, as a form of moral order and felt that the bedrock of moral order is religion.

The Mayflower Compact began with the words, "In the name of God, amen." The Declaration of Independence appeals to "Nature's God" and the "Creator," and "the Supreme Judge of the world." The oaths of office are before God, and Congress was given a chaplain, who each morning, blesses our daily decision-making.

James Madison in the Federalist Papers admitted that in the creation of our Republic he perceived the hand of the Almighty. John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, warned that we must never forget the God from whom our blessings flowed.

We don't hear the same affirmations of faith in our Maker from many of today's national leaders. I myself participate in a weekly Prayer Breakfast with a number of my Christian colleagues in Congress who know that politics and morality are inseparable. And as morality's foundation is religion, religion and politics are necessarily related.

We need religion as a guide. We need it because we are imperfect. Our government needs the church, because only those humble enough to admit they are sinners can bring to democracy the tolerance it requires in order to survive.

We establish no religion in this country, nor will we ever. But we poison our society when we remove its theological underpinnings. We court corruption when we leave society devoid of belief. All are free to believe or not believe; all are free to practice a faith or not. But those who believe must be free to speak of and act on their belief.

And, just as my Prayer Breakfast group acts on its belief, other coalitions of the faithful do so in the legislative sense. I am an active member of the House Values Action Team, which aims to advance the kind of legislative initiatives that - I believe - our Founders would heartily endorse.

So long as I represent the Emerald Coast, you can be assured that I am working to see that no federal funds will enforce the D.C. domestic partner law, or its needle exchange programs. We will continue to fight to maintain the partial birth abortion ban, endorsed by Congress and Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush, and we will maintain the ban on foreign aid funding for abortion. There will be no legalization of marijuana.

We will maintain the prohibition of funds to issue, implement, administer, or enforce any order invalidating the policy of the Boy Scouts regarding the employment or voluntary service of homosexual troop leaders. And we will remain on the offensive in requiring parental notification regarding contraceptives for minors. We will defend against any legislative initiative that undermines the hiring protections for faith-based organizations. We will maintain long-standing bans on funding for human embryo research including cloning, and will ensure that no federal funds are used in contravention of state reporting laws on child abuse, child molestation, sexual abuse, rape, or incest.

In my capacity as a Member of the Armed Services Committee, I am in a unique position to see that Congress holds the line on long-standing bans on funding for soldiers' abortions, and to ensure that no abortions take place in America's military hospitals.

And, as a vigilant watchdog for the taxpayers of Northwest Florida, I am ensuring that we maintain the ban on patenting human organisms, that we appropriate not one dime for prisoners' abortions, or funds from the Legal Service Corporation going to organizations involved in abortion litigation.

Along with many of my most conservative colleagues, I have been on the front lines on a number of media targets. I have publicly denounced the Supreme Court's decision to throw out good law ensuring against virtual child pornography, the Alabama Supreme Court's decision to remove the Ten Commandments statue from display, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals' decision to outlaw the right of America's school children to recite "Under God" in its proper place in our Pledge of Allegiance. Recently I spoke from the House floor in opposition to a lame-duck Clinton-appointed liberal judge's attempt to undo Congress' and President Bush's law to outlaw the heinous and horrific act of partial birth abortion.

As you all know, the definition of marriage has come under fire by activist judges who are legislating from their lifetime appointments to the federal bench. Though I am frustrated and disheartened by these court decisions, I am tremendously encouraged by the number of my colleagues who support federal efforts against any recognition of gay marriage in America. Marriage is a sacred institution, blessed by God, and it is to remain amongst a man and woman - and no other union.

As you know, I have been a cosponsor and supporter of the Federal Marriage Amendment throughout this Congress. Recent accounts are that the Senate will take a vote on their bill this summer, and it is my hope that our Florida Senators will come around and support the measure. I commend each and every one of you who has contacted my office and those of Senators Nelson and Graham. Your opinions do count, and they do make a difference. Keep calling the Senators, and know that, should the House take a vote, I am fully supportive of maintaining traditional marriage as we have come to know it - since the beginning of time.

As we continue to mourn the passing of President Ronald Reagan, it is worth recalling his memorable words at a prayer breakfast in Dallas on August 23, 1984:

"Without God, there is no virtue, because there's no prompting of the conscience. Without God, we're mired in the material, that flat world that tells us only what the senses perceive. Without God, there is a coarsening of the society. And without God, democracy will not and cannot endure. If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under."

Our Maker gives us man's blueprint for life, government, and citizenship. As we celebrate today our birthday as a nation under God, I bring this good news: America's Godly heritage is very much alive in the halls of Congress, and Washington is not devoid of God's hand upon that with which it is charged. Under the direction of a compassionate Commander-in-Chief, and with other national leaders of faith, we're bringing about a shift in the attitude in Washington. We understand the power of faith in America, and we will continue to preserve that power and lift it up in our representation.

God bless our troops, God bless this great nation, and God bless and keep each and every one of you.

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