05 October 2013

Representative Enyart: Resolution allowing military to exercise freedom of religion "did nothing for the troops"

Many of you asked an excellent question following yesterday's vote of the United States House of Representatives on a resolution introduced by Mr. Doug Collins (R-Georgia) that would allow military chaplains to minister on military bases during the partial government shut down (have you noticed how the designation keeps changing?) without fear of fines or imprisonment, namely, why did Mr. William Enyart (D-Illinois) vote against it?

It is a question I wondered when I first learned that only member of the House of Representatives voted against the resolution, in effect voting against the freedom of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment.

The Representative has posted the following answer to his web site (with my emphasis):
Day care centers on military bases are closed.  Commissaries on military bases are closed. Military support workers are furloughed. Of course I want chapels open, but what about our military families who have no place to send their children and are forced to buy family essentials off base?  

The bill I voted against is a prime example of the hypocrisy we see every day in Washington DC.  This bill did nothing for the troops. All it does is provide political cover for people who won’t do their jobs.  And that’s the Congress.

I was elected and sent to Washington DC to get a job done. Standing idly by while our government is shut down and Southern Illinoisans are being hurt, is NOT leadership.
The resolution did nothing for the troops?! Representative Enyart clearly does not understood the fundamental importance of religious liberty.

As His Holiness Benedict XVI reminded us in his Message for the 44th World Day of Peace:
Without the acknowledgement of his spiritual being, without openness to the transcendent, the human person withdraws within himself, fails to find answers to the heart's deepest questions about life's meaning, fails to appropriate lasting ethical values and principles, and fails even to experience authentic freedom and to build a just society.
What is more:
...the laws and institutions of a society cannot be shaped in such a way as to ignore the religious dimension of its citizens or to prescind completely from it.  Through the democratic activities of citizens conscious of their lofty calling, those laws and institutions must adequately effect the authentic nature of the person and support its religious dimension.  Since the latter is not a creation of the state, it cannot be manipulated by the state, but must rather be acknowledged and respected by it.

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