Speaker O’Brien Remarks: Stand Up for Religious Liberty Rally

October 22, 2012

Thank you very much for allowing me to be here to speak with all of you today on the important matter of religious freedom.

European refugees seeking religious freedom laid the foundation for America.  Religious freedom was so central to the formation of our country, that this right – which is truly an inalienable right – was enshrined in the First Amendment to the Constitution.

Our founders did not intend for this amendment to protect government from religion, which is the current misunderstanding; it was intended to protect religions from government.

For it says: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof

Now we see that the free exercise of religion is under attack by a presidential candidate for no other reason than through deception he thinks he can buy cheap political gain.

We know the harm he will cause as he attacks religious freedom, for with religion comes an understanding that there is a greater truth that transcends the moment;

A truth that goes beyond the lifeless goals of pleasure and materialism that we see among the non-believers and those who believe there exists nothing beyond the existence of a materialistic world.

It is just such a belief that underlies the political attacks – really, government attacks – on religion we now see.

Those attacks in the past and now, if not challenged, will continue to break down the family and community ties in favor of an overarching and powerful government that will dominate us with only the secular beliefs of the attackers.

Let’s look at one effect it has had already.  Let’s see what abandonment of religion, attacks on religion and substitution of government have given us. Look what it has done so far to marriage and families.

We began to see this evolution – or, better yet, deterioration – of the stability of marriages and families in the mounting divorce rates following the social disruptions of the Democrat policies of the 1930’s, followed by World War II, and then followed by the still continuing Great Society type of government takeover of social responsibility.

Now we see divorce rates that have reached a level of 50% generally and a greater percentage among less affluent Americans who are the most dependent on the stability of marriage.

Despite the clear evidence of the harm of those policies and the devastating effect of divorce on minor children – an effect so adverse that it is even greater than the effect on minor children of the death of a parent – the spending has continued and they continue to promote policies that attack marriage and substitute government for families.

Let me give you an example.

The concept there is a right to an easy, self-directed ending of marriages – what we call no-fault divorce – has become so ingrained in our national psyche that attempts over several legislative terms in New Hampshire to limit no-fault divorce when minor children are part of the family have failed to achieve any meaningful support.

In 1964, when Lyndon Johnson declared a so-called war on poverty, only 30 percent of poor families with children were headed by single mothers.
Now that figure is about 60 percent.

We need to return strong families to the social norm, not because we dislike change, but because we know that it is the one a bedrock institution that advantages children and therefore society as a whole.

And if we are going to have strong families, we need strong churches.

We do not need more handouts from government and we do not need government leaders attacking religion for cheap political gain.

We must not let cynicism get the best of us and we must not let attacks on religion determine our elections, because Americans, in their core and in their strong majority, understand that there is a greater good than fallible government and there is a greater strength in their churches than in ultimately destructive government social programs.

Neighbors, truly private charities, families and the faith community are the bedrock strengths of America

And, as those now in control of our federal government seek to substitute its agencies – its taxing power – its misguided social programs – for all of these traditional foundations of American society, we must stand up, as we are doing today, to say no and we must stand up on November 6 to say no.

Thank you all again for allowing me to join you here today. And may God bless and save the State of New Hampshire and the United States of America.