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Senator Lankford Defends Religious Freedom in Major CPAC Speech

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today delivered a major speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) about the importance of the First Amendment right of religious freedom to the fabric of America. Lankford also made the case that protecting religious freedom for all faiths should remain a key tenet of conservatism.

CPAC is the largest conference in America for conservative grassroots activism. The four-day conference has more than 10,000 attendees from all over America. Many of the Republican Presidential candidates speak at the conference, as well.  

CLICK HERE to view the C-SPAN video of the speech

CLICK HERE to view the CPAC video of the speech

CLICK HERE to read the full transcript of the speech

Excerpts from the speech

One is this passion about faith. And who we are. If you looked at our government agencies, you would believe that the official religion of America is atheism. That was never the intent of the Founders. It is for every individual to be able to live their faith out. Because we understood from the very beginning, as Americans, that God is older than government, God is bigger than government, and God will outlast government.

The Constitution is a clear document when it gets around faith. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of a religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Lots of folks want to twist that off in this day in age to it is freedom of worship. It’s not freedom of worship. It’s freedom to exercise your religion. And that’s very, very different. For the people that would say, you can go in that spot and you can have worship however you want to, have missed completely the Constitution. It’s the ability to be able to live your faith out. Or to be able to have no faith at all. To be able to choose to live that out.

Look at our history. Mayflower Compact 1620: “Having undertaken for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith in the honor of our king and country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia.” Look at our Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, they’re endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” 

We, as conservatives, should lead the way—to be able to speak out for people to believe in any faith, or to have no faith at all. Because it is a basic tenant of our beliefs that people should be able to live out their faith… It’s become an amazing transition that people are beginning to be afraid of people of faith living their faith out. Why people would be afraid of a baby Jesus on the courthouse lawn or a Menorah in a city park absolutely confounds me. We are people of faith. People can choose to live their faith as they choose to.

We are a nation where you can pray at any spot, at any time. We do not have freedom of worship. We have freedom of religion. It is a basic principle of who we are. The challenge, is what do we do about it? And where we are? This freedom seems to be slipping away. How do you recover it?…if we believe in freedom of religion, that is all faiths. We stand for the person next to us to have a different faith than ours, and for their right to practice their faith. Because we have a right to practice ours. 

We want to make a difference in this nation and freedom of religion? Actually live your faith. I’m amazed at the number of people that want to stand up for faith but don’t actually live it personally—live it personally.