Speeches and Floor Statements
McHenry Speech on Religious Liberty
Washington, June 30, 2005 | Jonathan Collegio ((202)225-2576)
Speech by Congressman McHenry in front of the U.S. Supreme Court urging the federal courts to preserve and promote religious liberty in America.
Thank you, Ernest Istook, for having me here today.
Ernest Istook is a great legislator. As an appropriator, his duty is to spend the taxpayers' money, but he has proven to conservatives like us here that he’s an appropriator on our team.
We’re here for a simple reason this morning: Our religious liberties are being attacked.
This Supreme Court behind me last week laid down a decision essentially saying that you can not post the Ten Commandments on government land, unless you can prove that posting them is meaningless. If it’s meaningful, they get torn down.
Great message for our kids.
Even more worrying to me, Ernest, was the decision the day before on government seizure of private property.
The Kelo case expands “public use” to include “potential tax revenue” when determining if a government can seize property from one party and give it to another.
Wildlife preserve? Nope. Give it to a developer.
But much worse: what few realize is that if we use tax revenues as a benchmark, there is nothing to keep a shopping center from going to court to knock down a church!
After all, the shopping center will create sales taxes and property taxes, and churches don’t pay taxes.
The federal Courts have laid out a full frontal assault on our liberties. That’s why I’m a cosponsor of your amendment. We’ve got to preempt the courts from infringing on our religious liberties.
And Congressman John Culberson and I have propsed a constitutional amendment to term limit federal district court judges to 10 year terms. Because those lower courts are where these awful decisions are bred in the first place.
Ernest Istook has proposed the Religious Freedom Amendment, and we deeply appreciate his leadership on this issue.
You know, today marked the opening of the movie War of the Worlds, but what we’re seeing here in America is a war by the secular left-wing ACLU against people with traditional moral values.
We need to rein in the Courts, and that’s what we’re here trying to do today.