Santorum Weighs In on Religious Freedom and Indiana

Rick Santorum appeared on CBS’ Face of the Nation on April 5, where he discussed Indiana’s religious freedom law.  Santorum argued that Indiana’s original law would have offered only limited protections to religious liberty in the workplace even before changes to it were approved:

I was hoping [Gov. Pence] wouldn’t [change the language in the bill].  I think the language that he had is better language. This is acceptable language. I voted for this language so I certainly can’t say that it’s a bad bill. It’s a good bill, but it doesn’t do a lot of the things—it doesn’t really open the debate up on some of the more current issues. I think the current language that the federal law is and now Indiana is has been held pretty much to have a pretty limited view of what religious liberty—religious freedom—is in the workplace.  And I think we need to look at it as religious liberty is now being pushed harder to provide more religious protections and that bill doesn’t do that.

I think what we need to look at is: we aren’t for discrimination against any person. I think that no business should discriminate because of who you are. But it should have the ability to say, ‘We’re not going to participate in certain activities that we disagree with from a certain religious point of view.’ I don’t think, frankly, that either bill does that, but the second one—the one that Gov. Pence backed away from—moves toward that.

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Jindal Addresses Indiana’s Religious Freedom Law on Meet the Press

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press on April 5, where he discussed Indiana’s religious freedom law with host Chuck Todd.  Jindal said he was disappointed with Indiana’s newly rewritten law and worried it would not adequately protect religious liberty:

 

I was very worried about the law in Indiana.  I’m disappointed.  Let’s remember what this debate was originally all about.  This is about business owners that don’t want to have to choose between their Christian faith, their sincerely held religious beliefs, and being able to operate their businesses.

Now, what they don’t want is the government to force them to participate in wedding ceremonies that contradict their beliefs.  They simply want the right to say, “We don’t want to be forced to participate in those ceremonies.”  So I was disappointed that you could see Christians and their businesses face discrimination in Indiana. I hope the legislators will fix that and rectify that.

There used to be a bipartisan consensus in this country around religious liberty saying that as Americans, we don’t always have to agree with each other, but we should respect each other’s rights and freedoms. And that’s what this debate is really about: Are we going to use government to force people to contradict their own sincerely held beliefs?

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Huckabee: Will Wal-Mart, Apple Pull Business From China Over Human Rights Concerns?

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was on CNN on April 4, where he berated Wal-Mart, Apple, and other multinational corporations for pressuring Indiana and Arkansas over religious freedom laws even while they continue to do business in countries with serious human rights violations:

The reason that those corporations put the pressure on Indiana and Arkansas was because the militant gay community put the pressure on them. I found it a little hypocritical when you have companies—even, and I love Wal-Mart, big company in my home state—but they do business in China for gosh sake. I don’t think the Chinese are exactly the paragon of human rights. You’ve got Apple computers—they’re selling Apple computers in Saudi Arabia. Is Tim Cook going to pull out of there? I don’t think so. He doesn’t mind making millions, if not billions, of dollars in cultures and countries where human rights are really an issue. I think these corporations really ought to either be consistent, quit making money from these countries that are really oppressing human rights, and quit bowing to the pressure and just sell their stuff. That’s what they’re in business for.

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Ted Cruz Officially Announces Candidacy

On March 23, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) officially announced his candidacy for President in a speech at Liberty University. His remarks emphasized his Christian conservative credentials, as well as other key issues like Common Core and education:

Instead of a federal government that seeks to dictate school curriculum through Common Core…

… imagine repealing every word of Common Core.

Imagine embracing school choice as the civil rights issue of the next generation…

… that every single child, regardless of race, regardless of ethnicity, regardless of wealth or ZIP Code, every child in America has the right to a quality education.

And that’s true from all of the above, whether is public schools, or charter schools, or private schools, or Christian schools, or parochial schools, or home schools, every child.

You can view a transcript of the entire speech here.  You can also view the full speech below:

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Fiorina Supports Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina wrote a piece for the Susan B. Anthony List blog on March 16th. In it, she affirms her support for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act:

About sixty years ago, a decision was made that changed my life. My husband’s mother chose life. She was told that her pregnancy would be difficult and Doctors told her she needed to have an abortion. Being a woman of intense faith and courage, my husband’s mother continued her pregnancy. I cannot imagine how different my life would be had she made a different choice.

Unfortunately, women are faced with this decision every day. These women deserve our empathy, support, and never our judgment or condemnation. They deserve options, ones that are available now more than ever due to advances in modern medicine.

Science supports those of us that believe in the sanctity of life. At 20 weeks, or five months into a pregnancy, an unborn child feels pain. At 20 weeks of life, an unborn child can suck his thumb, yawn, stretch, and make faces. An unborn child at 20 weeks IS a human life. The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (S.1670) protects the unborn in limiting abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, it is legislation that is vital in protecting the dignity of life.

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Cruz Takes On Common Core in NH

During an appearance in Barrington, NH, on March 15th, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) was asked about Common Core. He has this to say:

I think we should repeal every word of Common Core. Look, education is far too important to have it governed by unelected bureaucrats down in Washington. Education, I mentioned before in response to the first question, I’m a constitutionalist. Over and over again as questions come up, my touchstone is going to be: What does the Constitution of the United States say?

If you look at the Tenth Amendment, or as President Obama calls it: the what? The basic protection that says the powers not given to the federal government are reserved to the states and to the people. That means the federal government has no authority to do things like set the curriculum in education. That needs to be at the state level or even better at the local level. And ma’am the reason for that, you actually described beautifully, which is, listen, if it’s at the local level, you can go to the Stratford County school board meeting and if the curriculum being taught to your kids doesn’t make sense, you can make your voice heard. You can speak out and say, ‘this isn’t right.’ Every one of us should have control over what’s being taught to our kids. If it’s bureaucrats in Washington: They don’t care what you think, or I think. It’s about accountability to the people. That’s the answer: getting back to the Constitution, back to the freedom this country was built on, and it’s ultimately about empowering the people.

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Bush Speaks on Education Policy and Common Core in NH

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush made his first New Hampshire appearance on March 13th. Bush participated in a round table discussion and was asked for his thoughts about the federal government’s role in education policy:

You know, the federal government could play a role in the following way: The two big funding programs, I guess there’s three you could—Head Start’s not part of the Department of Education, but early learning, you know, the federal government has its own program. There should be flexibility if states have a better program to take the federal monies and expand these programs and expand these programs for four year olds, that would be one way. Title I, which is a big part of the relationship with the federal government and the states is the monies that go to schools that have a certain percentage of kids that are near or at the poverty level. If Florida wanted to have, or New Hampshire wanted to have that money go with the child to other schools, you need to change the law to make that happen, but that flexibility would be, similarly with the IDEA money, which is supposed to be 100 percent of all the funding needs for kids with learning disabilities, it’s probably 10 percent even so, it’s still a large amount. You could do the same thing for that.

So, instead of telling the states what to do and having a bunch of people that end up filling out forms to comply with a small amount of money.

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Perry Comments on Middle Class Wages

At the “Politics & Eggs” event in New Hampshire on March 12th, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry discussed wage stagnation:

“The President may be satisfied with 2% economic growth. I’m not. For the first time in American history, a generation of leaders are on the verge of breaking the social compact, if you will, with the next generation. That is that we leave a better country for them, than what we found ourselves. Fewer of us believe in the American dream now than in the last twenty years. For middle class Americans, opportunity and security have been replaced by worry and anxiety. Out of pocket healthcare costs, housing, college tuition, all of them have gone up faster than wages have. Student debt is at an all-time high, and this has to change. It’s time to restore hope and opportunity to middle class America.

We can start with our tax code. We’ve got the highest corporate tax rate in the western world. And that doesn’t just hurt companies, it also hurts the American worker. Economists will tell you that if you cut the corporate tax rate by 10 percent, it will lift the wages for the middle class worker by about 5 or 10 percent. That’s what we need to be focused on, helping raise those workers’ wages. We need more than just corporate tax reform to help the workers; we also need to simplify the tax code to reduce that burden on all individuals.

We also need to tackle the inequities that are caused by this Dodd-Frank regulation. 

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Perry Talks Common Core in NH

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry appeared at the New England Council’s “Politics and Eggs” event in New Hampshire on March 12th. During the Q&A, Perry was asked about education policy:

I’m pretty simple about the K-12 as a potential candidate for the United States. That needs to be left up to the States. I don’t think there is much of a role at all for the federal government. I think your governor, your legislature working with your school administrators, your teachers, and your parents—substantially better place for curriculum to be developed, then a one-size-fits-all out of Washington DC. If the Department of Education needs to be a repository of good practices, that might be a good final state for it. But I don’t think that Washington needs to be this one-size-fits-all, this place where our healthcare, where our transportation infrastructure, where education reform needs to come from.

Louis Brandeis, who is not exactly a well-known conservative, former member of the US Supreme Court, said that the states were laboratories of democracy. That states needed to experiment and try different ideas out there. From time to time, they’re going to foul up. I will suggest to you, from my perspective, Colorado is making an error in legalizing marijuana, but it’s exactly what Louis Brandeis said. I don’t agree with it, but I respect their right to find out they’re making a mistake.  And the same is true about education policy. I just think that people closer to the schools, closer to your state, closer to understanding what the people of New Hampshire are all about: you’ll come up with the best curriculum, you’ll find the ways to educate your children substantially better than this one-size-fits-all that all too often comes out of Washington DC.

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Santorum Talks Religious Liberty in Ohio

On March 10, Rick Santorum spoke at a church in West Chester on the importance of religious liberty. Before giving his speech, Santorum talked to the Cincinnati Enquirer, telling their reporter:

I think one of the most important things we have to understand when it comes to our school system is our schools have to educate Americans as to our founding principles and what they’re based upon. We are a country that’s based on the founding principles of western civilization. Now does that mean we shouldn’t respect all people from different religions and different places in the world? Of course you have to respect everyone, everyone individually. It doesn’t mean you have to respect their ideas, it doesn’t mean you need to adopt their ideas, it doesn’t mean you need to elevate their ideas to the same levels as the ideas that made our country unique in human history. I think that’s really the issue here. It’s not that we shouldn’t respect everybody or treat people with dignity. Or certainly respect their own holy days whether it’s Muslim or Buddhist or Baha’i or whoever else. It can be religious liberties for everybody but when it comes to a school, the school is trying to teach young people growing up in America what America is. What our foundational principles are, where they come from, and what makes America unique in the world. And I think there might be, at least some, well there’s certainly some confusion about that in America today and that’s one of the reasons I’m talking about that here today in Cincinnati, in West Chester, because I think there is a great amount of confusion about what our founding principles are and what religious liberty is in America and how central that is to the American enterprise.

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