Tags: mike lee | senator | mormon | utah | religious | freedom

Sen. Mike Lee Defends Religious Freedom Through the Eyes of a Mormon

Image: Sen. Mike Lee Defends Religious Freedom Through the Eyes of a Mormon
(Jim Young/Reuters)

By    |   Friday, 12 Jun 2015 10:03 AM

Sen. Mike Lee discussed protecting religious freedom Thursday at a speech in Washington, D.C., giving the topic a personal spin as he spoke on the historical persecution of Mormons.

“You’ve all heard the first generation of Mormons were pioneers, and that’s certainly true,” Lee, a first-term Republican, said. “But that misses the crucial point.”

Lee explained how his “heroes,” the early followers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, moved from New York to Ohio, from Ohio to Missouri, from Missouri to Iowa, and eventually settled in what would become the state of Utah.

The governor of Missouri in 1838 called for an “extermination” of the Mormons, according to Lee.

“Wherever the Mormons lived, they were persecuted as heretics and driven from their homes,” he said. “They continued to push the frontier, not as pioneers, but as pilgrims, in search of their own Promised Land.”

Turning toward today, Lee compared this historical example to the strife of small businesses and religiously affiliated organizations as they are punished for their beliefs, specifically opposition to same-sex marriage.

“Regardless of how the Supreme Court rules, it is becoming increasingly clear that the next controversies will not be whether same-sex couples will receive marriage licenses,” Lee said, “but instead whether people who don’t think so may keep their business license; whether colleges that don’t think so will be able to keep their accreditation; whether military chaplains who don’t think so will be court martialed; whether churches who don’t think so will be targeted for reprisal by the state; whether religious belief itself will be swept entirely from the public square.”

Lee has always been an outspoken opponent of same-sex marriage, stating he “does not believe it is a Constitutional requirement.”

The senator currently has pending legislation that would stop “the government from discriminating against people that believe in the traditional definition of marriage,” Lee’s communication director Conn Carroll said in an email to Newsmax.

“If we want to reinforce religious freedom in America our first step must be to protect that crucial space of freedom from undo government interference,” Lee said Thursday. “That was the principle behind the bill I will soon introduce in the Senate.”

The event was hosted by Hillsdale College’s Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitution Studies and Citizenship.

“Hillsdale was the first college to prohibit any sort of discrimination based on race, religion, or sex and was a force in the abolition of slavery,” Matthew Spalding, the school's associate vice president and dean of educational programs, said in opening remarks.

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Sen. Mike Lee discussed protecting religious freedom Thursday at a speech in Washington, D.C., giving the topic a personal spin as he spoke on the historical persecution of Mormons.
mike lee, senator, mormon, utah, religious, freedom
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2015-03-12
Friday, 12 Jun 2015 10:03 AM
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