Question of the week: Do you believe the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as the union between one man and one woman is constitutional for purposes of federal law?Posted by Randy | January 09, 2013
The Supreme Court announced this week that it will hear arguments in late March on two key cases involving same-sex marriage.
The justices have agreed to hear arguments in Hollingsworth v. Perry on the question of whether the U.S. Constitution bars California from limiting marriage to unions of one man and one woman. Proposition 8, passed by California voters in 2008, re-instated the traditional definition of marriage between a man and a woman.
The Supreme Court will also consider arguments in U.S. v. Windsor on whether the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) violates the U.S. Constitution. DOMA was enacted in 1996 and defines marriage as the union between one man and one woman for purposes of federal law. Another question before the Court is whether the House of Representatives’ Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group* can defend DOMA, even though President Obama deemed the law unconstitutional in 2011.
This week we’re asking you to weigh-in on two questions.
1st Question of the week: Do you believe the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as the union between one man and one woman is constitutional for purposes of federal law?
( ) Yes
( ) No
( ) I don’t know.
( ) Other
2nd Question of the week: Who do you believe should define marriage in the United States?
( ) Federal Government
( ) State Governments
( ) I don’t know.
( ) Other
Take the poll here.
Find out the results of last week’s instaPoll here.
*The Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group is a five-member panel consisting of the Speaker of the House, Majority Leader, Majority Whip, Minority Leader, and Minority Whip. Under House rules, the advisory group has the authority to instruct the non-partisan office of the House General Counsel to take legal action on behalf of the House of Representatives.
Question of the Week: Do you believe the executive branch should resume defending the Defense of Marriage Act in court?Posted by Randy | May 23, 2012
In 1996, both house of Congress overwhelmingly passed, and President Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) into law. DOMA defines marriage as the union of a man and woman in U.S. Code. In addition, it defends the rights of states not to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. In addition to this federal law, nearly 40 states have state laws similar to DOMA.
Last year President Obama instructed the Department of Justice to no longer defend DOMA in federal court. By making this decision, the Administration is asserting the DOMA is unconstitutional and that it is no longer required to defend this law.
Question of the Week: Do you believe the executive branch should resume defending the Defense of Marriage Act in court?
( ) Yes
( ) No
( ) Unsure
( ) Other (leave your comments below)
Take the poll here.
Find the results of last week’s instaPoll here.
Posted by Randy | April 17, 2012
I hope you are able to tune today to the Mike Huckabee radio show. I will be a featured guest at 1:15pm EST discussing the controversy surrounding two memorial crosses at Camp Pendleton, CA. It is important to stand up for our religious heritage and I look forward to discussing this issue with Governor Huckabee.
Click HERE to listen live.
Posted by Randy | February 10, 2012
Posted by Randy | February 07, 2012
The U.S. Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO) recently modified the logo on its official patch to remove its reference to "God," following a complaint from the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers. The RCO patch, like many unit patches, included a line in Latin meant to be a clever pun understood by members of the unit. The motto stated “Opus Dei Cum Pecunia Alienum Efficemus” (Doing God’s Work with Other People’s Money). It was altered to now read “Miraculi Cum Pecunia Alienum Efficemus” (Doing Miracles with Other People’s Money).
In reality, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution does not prohibit the mention of “God.” In fact, the Courts have consistently upheld the constitutionality of the national motto “In God We Trust,” despite its obvious mention of God.
I joined with several members of the Congressional Prayer Caucus in sending a letter to Air Force Secretary Michael Donley and General Norton Schwartz, asking them to reverse their decision to alter the logo. You can read the letter here.
Question of the Week: Should religious institutions be forced to provide contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugsPosted by Randy | February 07, 2012
The Department of Health and Human Services announced in August 2011 that it will require all employers (with few exceptions) that provide health insurance to their employees to also include contraception, sterilization, and coverage for abortion-inducing drugs without charging co-pay fees. The mandate only offers very limited conscience protections for select religious entities, such as churches, that meet strict criteria. In response, numerous religious organizations protested this violation of their religious beliefs. Nonetheless, the Administration recently announced that it will not expand the religious exemption in the mandate, or change it at all. This means that religious institutions like Catholic colleges and hospitals, or other Christian institutions would be compelled to violate their conscience by cooperating with that which they believe to be wrong; non-compliance could result in heavy fines for employers and it has been suggested that schools like the University of Notre Dame could be fined millions of dollars. Currently, many of these institutions provide health-insurance plans that do not provide free coverage of these services. Recently, pressure has increased on the Administration either to drop the HHS mandate, or else to devise a much broader religious exemption. More than 60 evangelical and orthodox Jewish leaders sent a letter to the Administration on December 21 protesting the narrow mandate. In addition, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has informed the Administration that it will not comply with the mandate and other Christian schools have filed suit in federal court.
Question of the Week: Do you support the Administration's requirement that religious institutions violate their religious beliefs and provide contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs?
( ) Yes, I support the Administration's requirement.
( ) No, I oppose the Administration's requirement.
( ) Other.
( ) I am unsure.
Take the poll here.
Find the results of last week's poll here.
Read about Congressman Forbes' efforts to oppose the Administration's decision in his letter to Secretary Sebelius, which is available here. In addition, Congressman Forbes worked to amend the recent healthcare overhaul to protect the conscience rights and religious beliefs of healthcare providers and purchasers by cosponsoring H.R.1179. The legislation would ensure that the healthcare law does not discriminate against healthcare providers or purchasers who have religious or conscience objections to certain procedures and services.
Posted by Randy | February 01, 2012
Last week, the House of Representatives passed two pieces of legislation that would protect the freedom of religion in America and literally etch portions of our religious history in stone.
There may come a day when a generation of Americans is willing to turn its back on our nation's religious heritage, but I am working to make sure that today is not that day and this is not that generation.
Follow my work on this issue here.
Posted by Randy | December 09, 2011
"No religious items (ie: Bibles, reading material, and/or artifacts) are allowed to be given away or used during a visit."
Those words were included in a memo issued September 14 by Walter Reed Medical Center, one of our nation’s primary medical facilities for thousands of wounded military men and women.
The policy was brought to the attention of my colleagues and me, along with valid concerns that family members or pastors would not be able to bring Bibles or other religious materials to visit their wounded sons or daughters or husbands and wives. My colleague Rep. Steve King pointed out that “It means a priest that might be coming in to visit someone on their death bed couldn’t bring in the Eucharist, couldn’t offer Last Rites. This is the most outrageous affront.”
Our troops have risked their lives for our freedoms and liberties - including our religious liberties. To deny them this freedom when they return home is deplorable.
This week, I hosted a meeting with officials from Walter Reed regarding the policy. The officials said that the policy was not properly vetted and has been rescinded. The following apology has been posted on their website:
We are in the process of rewriting our policy and would like to offer the following statement:
Bibles and other religious materials have always been and will remain available for patient use at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The visitation policy as written was incorrect and should have been more thoroughly reviewed before its release. It has been rescinded. We apologize for any confusion the policy may have caused.
Please know that at admission, all patients are asked for their religious preference and a chaplain associated with their preference visits them regularly to provide spiritual services. In addition, their families may also bring religious material and we will not refuse any religious group entrance.
WRNMMC provides multiple venues at WRMNMC for religious expression and worship. There is daily Catholic Mass as well as Protestant, Hindu, and Muslim services. Eucharist is also available at the bedside. There are weekly Torah studies, multiple weekly Christian bible studies, as well as weekly Qur'an study. Furthermore, chaplains coordinate spiritual needs for those whose faith groups are not represented by staff chaplains (such as Latter-Day Saints, Buddhist, and Christian Scientist).
Walter Reed National Military Medical Center remains committed to supporting the religious preferences of all our patients and we will continue to ensure their spiritual needs are met.
I have requested background information about the policy, how it was implemented without proper vetting, and what forces were behind its implementation. Additionally, Rep. Steve King was featured on Fox and Friends this week to discuss the situation. You can view his comments here.
Posted by Randy | November 03, 2011
I am happy to share with you that this week the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to reaffirm our national motto, In God We Trust. This reaffirmation offers optimism during tumultuous times. It provides clarity amidst a cloud of confusion about our nation's spiritual heritage and offers inspiration to an American people that face challenges of historic proportion.
I gave remarks during debate of the resolution on the House floor. You can watch those remarks here or by clicking the video below:
As we reaffirmed the national motto last night, we joined the ranks of leaders throughout American history. Here is a look at the ways the national motto has been a guiding principle since our nation’s inception:
At our nation's founding. Authors penned the Declaration of Independence writing, “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”
In nation's infancy. Francis Scott Key wrote the poem that would become our national anthem the Star Spangled Banner containing the stanza, “And this be our motto—‘In God is our trust.’”
In the midst of Civil War. President Lincoln addressing a war torn, weary, and divided nation, saying at the Gettysburg address, “this Nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
During the economic expansion of America's industrialization. Congresses passed the Coinage Act stating that the Secretary of the Treasury "may cause the motto ‘In God We Trust’ to be inscribed on such coins as shall admit of such motto."
World War I. In his speech before Congress asking for a declaration of war, President Wilson said “…The day has come when America is privileged to spend her blood and her might for the principles that gave her birth and happiness and the peace which she has treasured. God helping her, she can do no other.”
After nearly a decade of Great Depression. President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued a Thanksgiving proclamation saying, “Thus from our earliest recorded history, Americans have thanked God for their blessings. In our deepest natures, in our very souls, we, like all mankind since the earliest origin of mankind, turn to God in time of trouble and in time of happiness. In God We Trust.”
At D-Day facing Nazi advances on Europe. In his famous radio address, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Americans to join him in praying, “Help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice… As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our effort.”
During the Baby Boom. "In God We Trust" was inscribed above the south entrance door in the Senate chamber during the 1949-1951 reconstruction.
Cold War and Economic Prosperity. In a speech given during the Cold War, President John F. Kennedy said, “Today our Nation is passing through another time of trial… We will need to draw upon the best that this Nation has--often--and draw upon it physically and intellectually and materially. But we need also to call upon our great reservoir of spiritual resources…The guiding principle and prayer of this Nation has been, is now, and ever shall be ‘In God We Trust.’”
Civil Rights Movement. Two years after Brown vs. Board of Education and one year after Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a public bus, ‘In God We Trust’ was adopted as the official national motto of the United States.
Vietnam War. In the midst of the Vietnam War, President Lyndon Johnson said, “Not long ago I received a letter one morning from a mother whose son had been killed in Vietnam. She wrote to me saying, ‘…As long as we believe, our strength is in our faith in God and He will never fail us.’ So, my countrymen, in those words from that dear mother are to be found the greatness of this Nation and also the strength of its President.”
Reagan Years. In 1984, in an address to the nation, responding to an effort to remove prayer from our public schools, President Reagan said, “The first amendment of the Constitution was not written to protect the people from religion; that amendment was written to protect religion from government tyranny. The act that established our public school system called for public education to see that our children learned about religion and morality. References to God can be found in the Mayflower Compact of 1620, the Declaration of Independence, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the National Anthem. Our legal tender states, ‘In God We Trust.’ But now we're told our children have no right to pray in school. Nonsense. The pendulum has swung too far toward intolerance against genuine religious freedom. It's time to redress the balance.”
1990’s. Following the Oklahoma City bombings, President Bill Clinton delivered a speech saying, “I ask all Americans tonight to pray—to pray for the people who have lost their lives, to pray for the families and the friends of the dead and the wounded, to pray for the people of Oklahoma City. May God's grace be with them.”
Present day. In 2002, in response to a case challenging the words ‘under God’ in the Pledge of Allegiance, Congress passed and President Bush signed a law reaffirming the Pledge of Allegiance and ‘In God We Trust’ as our national motto. Additionally, in 2006, the Senate reaffirmed ‘In God We Trust’ on the 50th anniversary of its adoption as the official national motto of the United States. On the night of the September 11 terrorist attacks, President George W. Bush delivered a speech to the nation saying, "Tonight, I ask for your prayers for all those who grieve, for the children whose worlds have been shattered, for all whose sense of safety and security has been threatened. And I pray they will be comforted by a power greater than any of us, spoken through the ages in Psalm 23: 'Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me.'”
Posted by Randy | October 31, 2011
In January 2011, I introduced H.Con.Res.13, to reaffirm 'In God We Trust' as our national motto and encourage its display in public building and government institutions. Since that point, the bill has gained 64 bipartisan cosponsors and was reported favorably out of the House Judiciary Committee in March of 2011. And this week, the resolution will be brought to the floor of House of Representatives for a vote.
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