Interview with Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) on the HHS mandate and religious freedom

posted at 4:41 pm on June 15, 2012 by Dustin Siggins

Representative Trent Franks (R-AZ) is a fifth-term Congressman from the 2nd District of Arizona. A conservative Republican, he is mostly know for promoting social conservative causes, perhaps most importantly by sponsoring a variety of pro-life bills such as sex-selective and race-selective abortion prevention legislation and a bill restricting abortions in Washington, D.C.

I met Congressman Franks at last week’s anti-HHS Mandate rally here in D.C. shortly before he spoke to the several hundred people in attendance. When I mentioned my interest in interviewing him about the mandate – as well as my defense of his sex-selective abortion bill in light of a shoddy attack by liberal pundit Dana Milbank – he put me in touch with his press secretary. After a few days of figuring out schedules (the House isn’t in session this week), the Congressman called me this afternoon to talk. Below is our discussion.

 

Dustin Siggins: Congressman, it’s great to talk with you. I really appreciate your time. To start, I seem to remember in your speech last week at the HHS Rally that you said really wanted to dial back the tone a little, and I believe you focused more on policy.

Representative Trent Franks: . It [religious freedom] is what often drives people to fight for other freedoms. The Pilgrims were people from a bunch of small churches whose leader was beheaded while they were fighting for religious freedom. They decided to leave, and subsequently started America, the greatest bastion of religious freedom of all time. Now we have a President who, in the format of a monarch, is willing to relegate religious freedom to the dustbin of history. It’s something we ignore at the peril of the country.

 

DS: I spoke with Star Parker earlier this week about the HHS contraceptive/abortifacient/sterilization mandate, and asked her how she thought those who are concerned about the mandate could convince Americans that it’s just as important an issue as the issues that have dominated the election thus far: debt, the economy, and the tax hikes we face at the end of the year. She said there is no one argument, that different arguments work for different people, and said the core issue was the size of government, since a smaller government does less.

I’d like to ask you the same question: How do we convince the American people that the mandate is as important an issue as the debt, economy, and taxes?

Rep. Franks: It’s very important. At the end of the day – whether it’s national security or how we interpret the Constitution, or issues related to economic issues – all of these things are put in place to enhance how people have the right to live and be free. You can’t pursue your dreams or be free if your religious rights are abrogated. We have the religious freedom God gave us when he put mankind on the Earth. It’s of impressive gravity.

These arguments often put the cart before horse. The economy is important only so far as it helps the human family improve. The fact is that protecting life, liberty and property has resulted in a free market-productive economy that outperforms every economic experiment that has ever been done.

If we get the basic questions wrong, all the ancillary questions of the day are functionally irrelevant.

 

DS: I’m a Catholic who follows the Church’s teachings on morality, but a lot of liberals say religious freedom arguments should apply to churches as well. For example, if conservatives want religious freedom related to this mandate, why can’t churches conduct gay marriages?

How do you refute this?

Rep. Franks: Churches have their right to have a perspective on gay marriage. They have every right to support gay marriage regardless how antithetical it is to other religious brethren. However, in this case, society has set aside special recognition for traditional marriage to raise children and create future generations and create the most productive environment to have families. We’ve said this is very important.

Every matrix shows committed heterosexual couples living in the environment of a home have children who excel in the best ways for society and the lives of those children.

We’ve set aside special recognition in the law, related to property, parental rights, tax structures, all kinds of different things that fit in this rubric. Supports of traditional marriage simply say we should be careful in expanding that special treatment outside of what we already have. This is a public policy argument, not a religious argument. Churches can have their perspectives and views.

It’s also important to keep in mind this idea that people of my faith somehow have this animus toward people for their sexual preference. That that’s simply not true. It’s not my being judgmental. There is no stone in my hand for someone who doesn’t abrogate the rights of others for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The question is, do we want to expand what society has traditionally reserved for traditional marriage? Do we want to expand this to areas we don’t yet know enough about, related to how good it is for society? The case should have to be made, and so far only traditional marriage has risen to that measure, given the studies and research of children who come from traditional marriage as opposed to those who come from other backgrounds.

 

DS: Archbishop Dolan says the mandate essentially forces Catholics to not be Catholics, since the mandate’s exemption does not apply to religious organizations that hire or serve people not of their own faith.  Do you think the Church will shut down those affiliated organizations in August 2013, when this mandate goes into effect?

Rep. Franks: The Administration has put the Catholic Church in a bad position. What’s his title…Bishop Dolan…?

DS: Archbishop

Rep. Franks: Archbishop. Thank you. You’ll have to excuse me, I’m only a sorry Baptist. Archbishop Dolan is absolutely correct. This forces the Church to choose between its religious convictions and the ability to practice the application of its faith in public life in the way its always had the right to do. Even this Supreme Court, with its strong ideological splits, rejected nine to zero the Administration’s argument that religious organizations should be forced to hire people not of their faith.

Essentially, the Administration has said the Church will either violate its principles or give up its role to reach out to those who are less fortunate. This is reprehensible beyond my ability to express.

One other thing: If Catholics think the Administration is hostile now, when we are heading into a tight election, they ain’t seen nothing yet. This Administration will put religious freedom into total freefall.

We shouldn’t force our religion on anyone. The Jesus I serve, love, and revere, said “I stand at your heart’s door and knock,” not “get out of the way, I’m coming through.” If people want to express opinions, fine. The Obama Administration has certainly shown disdain in significant ways of people of faith who comprise probably 85% of the  nation. He [Obama] has the right to say “those people are crazy,” if he wants to. But he cannot violate religious beliefs, as long as those beliefs don’t take freedom, life, or property. That’s how our freedom works.

In this case, the Administration is ripping the cornerstone of freedom out of the heart of the faith community in America.

 

 

 

 

 


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Oh oh!

KOOLAID2 on June 15, 2012 at 4:43 PM

(:->)

KOOLAID2 on June 15, 2012 at 4:46 PM

…coulda…woulda!

KOOLAID2 on June 15, 2012 at 4:47 PM

…to many crabby people!

KOOLAID2 on June 15, 2012 at 4:48 PM

…baker’s dozen if their was an attempt…

KOOLAID2 on June 15, 2012 at 4:49 PM

their=there

KOOLAID2 on June 15, 2012 at 4:50 PM

…who was the dork that was not amused yesterday…now I’m not…coulda been at 20!

KOOLAID2 on June 15, 2012 at 4:52 PM

…4:43…at least 2 a minute…going slow

KOOLAID2 on June 15, 2012 at 4:53 PM

…who was the dork that was not amused yesterday…now I’m not…coulda been at 20!

KOOLAID2 on June 15, 2012 at 4:52 PM

.
Bah . . . humbug.

listens2glenn on June 15, 2012 at 4:54 PM

…at Democratic math…at least 3 a minute…

KOOLAID2 on June 15, 2012 at 4:54 PM

focus on repealing the whole DA*N law and not just the contraceptive mandate and america would be much better off….by only picking on the mandate as it impacts religious groups, there is an implicit acceptance of the rest of the obamacare mess (remember, the Catholic Church was very quiet when Obamacare was being debated in in Congress because they didn’t think that it would impact their gravy train). REPEAL OBAMACARE NOW! NOMITTNOBAMA 2012!

Pragmatic on June 15, 2012 at 5:00 PM

In this case, the Administration is ripping the cornerstone of freedom out of the heart of the faith community in America.

THIS is what should be shouted by our so-called conservative politicians:

The Administration is ripping cornerstone of freedom out of the heart of AMERICA

Where’s Mittens?

Pragmatic on June 15, 2012 at 5:02 PM

I meant to say:

By pushing for the passage of Obamacare, the Administration is ripping the cornerstone of freedom out of the heart of AMERICA

NOMITTNOBAMA 2012!

Pragmatic on June 15, 2012 at 5:03 PM

Churches have their right to have a perspective on gay marriage. They have every right to support gay marriage regardless how antithetical it is to other religious brethren.
However, in this case, society has set aside special recognition for traditional marriage to raise children and create future generations and create the most productive environment to have families.
We’ve said this is very important.

Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ)

.
Biblical marriage has been recognized and co-instituted by local government in the U.S. since before the country’s founding.

My side will never let go of that premise, just as the gay activists will never accept it.

listens2glenn on June 15, 2012 at 5:09 PM

Thanks for doing that interview. Rep. Franks gets it and spoke well to the issues.

The fact is that protecting life, liberty and property has resulted in a free market-productive economy that outperforms every economic experiment that has ever been done.

If we get the basic questions wrong, all the ancillary questions of the day are functionally irrelevant….

This is a public policy argument, not a religious argument.

I think Francis Schaeffer wrote of people living off of the cream skimmed from the benefits of living in a society based on Christian principles without understanding of the connection between world view and consequences.

INC on June 15, 2012 at 5:12 PM

focus on repealing the whole DA*N law and not just the contraceptive mandate and america would be much better off….by only picking on the mandate as it impacts religious groups, there is an implicit acceptance of the rest of the obamacare mess (remember, the Catholic Church was very quiet when Obamacare was being debated in in Congress because they didn’t think that it would impact their gravy train). REPEAL OBAMACARE NOW! NOMITTNOBAMA 2012!

Pragmatic on June 15, 2012 at 5:00 PM

.
I agree with you on scrapping the whole thing, but when the polls close this coming November, we will have elected one or the other of Mitt Romney or Barack Obama.

listens2glenn on June 15, 2012 at 5:14 PM

Biblical marriage has been recognized and co-instituted by local government in the U.S. since before the country’s founding.

listens2glenn on June 15, 2012 at 5:09 PM

For centuries. Biblical marriage is not something you evolve away from based on polling data in swing states.

Happy Nomad on June 15, 2012 at 5:25 PM

ABSOLUTELY

Representative Trent Franks: . It [religious freedom] is what often drives people to fight for other freedoms. The Pilgrims were people from a bunch of small churches whose leader was beheaded while they were fighting for religious freedom. They decided to leave, and subsequently started America, the greatest bastion of religious freedom of all time. Now we have a President who, in the format of a monarch, is willing to relegate religious freedom to the dustbin of history. It’s something we ignore at the peril of the country.

“LAUS DEO” kickin video for a good cause.
All proceeds go to The NEW non-profit Judeo-Christian Freedom Alliance

It’s time ti fight back….

deedtrader on June 15, 2012 at 5:34 PM

INC on June 15, 2012 at 5:12 PM

He did.

chemman on June 15, 2012 at 5:43 PM

Here’s food for thought on healthcare in the U.S. that I just ran across in the comments section of a blog post at Pajamas Media. It’s eminently sensible, and I’ve often wondered myself why this couldn’t happen again. Obamacare should be struck down completely, yes, but we still have to do something with the far-from-efficient system we’ve been enduring all along.

One of my aunts was very sickly most of her adult life and died in 1982 from renal failure. She was in and out of hospitals during most of my youth and teen years (60s and 70s), yet she and my uncle were never bankrupted because of extreme medical costs, drug costs and dialysis treatments when they became available. If they got a large hospital bill, they made payments on it until it was gone. Same with the multitude of prescriptions she had to take. I don’t remember if she was even eligible for Medicare — my guess is that she was too young at the time to qualify. And knowing her, she probably would have been ashamed beyond belief to apply even if she did.

PatriotGal2257 on June 15, 2012 at 6:05 PM

Hugo Black in 1947 murdered GOD in America.

He ruled that Separation of Government from Church Affairs meant exactly the opposite. He ruled the Second Amendment separated GOD from Government exactly the opposite of what it actually did.

All the second Amendment was written to do was make sure there was not a Church of America and also make sure the Government in no way restricted in any way the practice of Religion. But from our establishment Church and Government were intermixed. The Ten Commandments are the foundation of all our laws. Government buildings were used as Churches and Churches were used to conduct Government Affairs. Prayers stated every meeting. This started as a Christian and Jewish Nation worshiping the one true GOD.

But no Black ignored the entire history of the Nation and instead did the bidding of his master Satan and murdered GOD. No doubt he is in the deepest fires of Hell right now.

But America is Satanic as well. We have a choice of two men both of which have no tolerance of GOD. Both of which feel Churches have no rights to practice their religious beliefs. Both of which will join Black unless they seriously repent.

Steveangell on June 15, 2012 at 6:53 PM