“Government’s first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives.” ~ Ronald Reagan
If one of the duties of government is to safeguard the individual liberty of it’s citizens, then a number of our Texas State Representatives missed a golden opportunity with regard to (82) HJR 135, and in doing so, thumbed their noses at religious freedom and individual sovereignty.
The decision not to offer the amendment for a public vote is unfortunate in light of Obama’s recent dictatorial demands that religious affiliated hospitals or their insurance companies provide birth control or abortion pills. Indeed, a House Research Organization committee reported that the opposition to the amendment voiced concerns that the amendment would in fact, work as intended to protect a religiously affiliated hospital or institution from being required to perform procedures or provide services against their religiously held beliefs!
We the people of Texas were not allowed to vote on this amendment because even though the committee voted unanimously to send the bill for a vote, it did not gain the 2/3 majority required to present it to the people. Sadly, some of our Representatives failed to protect religious freedom from the growing federal leviathan.
I received news of this dereliction of duty from Daniel Miller, a small businessman running in a local Republican primary in Texas who gave a brief synopsis of the bill and provided a handy list of the representatives who voted to deny your opportunity to vote on the amendment.
Here is Daniel’s take on the issue:
In the waning hours of the 82nd session of the Texas Legislature, a bill quietly wound its way through the political machine in Austin that was, perhaps, one of the most important bills in the session.
Introduced by Representative Larry Phillips, HJR135 was a proposed constitutional amendment that seemed like a “no-brainer” and under a Texas House of Representatives with a supermajority of Republicans, should have passed with no problems.
The bill would have corrected what has been a glaring oversight in the Bill of Rights in our state constitution â€“ the mandate of protection of religious liberty.
It would have amended the Article 1 Section 6 of the Texas Constitution that currently reads:
“All men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences. No man shall be compelled to attend, erect or support any place of worship, or to maintain any ministry against his consent. No human authority ought, in any case whatever, to control or interfere with the rights of conscience in matters of religion, and no preference shall ever be given by law to any religious society or mode of worship.”
However, with continual attacks from the Federal Government on the religious liberties of Texans, HJR135 would have placed before the voters an opportunity to strengthen the protection by adding the following language to Section 6:
“The government may not, directly, indirectly, or incidentally, substantially burden an individual’s or a religious organization’s conduct that is based on a sincerely held religious belief, unless the government is: acting to further a compelling governmental interest, and using the least restrictive available means to do so. But it shall be the duty of the Legislature to pass such laws as may be necessary to protect equally every religious denomination in the peaceable enjoyment of its own mode of public worship.”
However, this proposed amendment did not appear on the ballot for Constitutional amendments this past November. With a Republican supermajority in the House, it failed to receive the support of 2/3rds of the members necessary to be placed on the ballot and, therefore, Texans did not get a chance to vote for it.
The session closed and this bill to protect your religious liberty died a quiet death.
However, this bill, its death and the responsibility of purported “conservatives” who voted to kill it are all roaring back to the surface.
The consequences of the death of this bill are now being felt at this very moment by Catholics, Baptists, Methodists and virtually all other religious denominations throughout Texas.
As Texans everywhere prepare for the disastrous implementation of ObamaCare, Christians and all people of faith are now at a decision point. “Do we obey God or government?”
A provision of ObamaCare mandates that all health-care plans in the United States cover sterilizations and all FDA-approved contraceptives, including “Plan B” and others that cause abortions.
Religious hospitals, universities and charitable organizations would not be exempt from the regulation, nor would individual Christians, business owners, or insurers.
This ObamaCare provision forces those who are opposed to abortion to violate their conscience and participate in support of those actions.
However, had every Republican in the Texas House voted for HJR135 then the Legislature would have been forced to take action against this Federal attack on religious liberty and the Attorney General would have firm, unambiguous Constitutional grounds to fight for the rights of Christians in Texas.
We teach our children that actions have consequences. This is why. The actions of those who killed HJR135 will have far-reaching and long-lasting consequences.
Rather than standing for religious liberty their lack of courage opened the door for those who would seek to take it away. Rather than allowing the people of Texas to raise their voices in support of religious liberty, they robbed us of that right. Rather than giving us concrete protection of our “natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of our own consciences”, they force us to answer the question, “Do I obey God or government?”
Here is a list of State Representatives who voted against religious liberty in Texas:
Nays â€” Allen; Alonzo; Anchia; Anderson, C.; Burnam; Davis, Y.; Farias; Gallego; Geren; Giddings; Gonzales, V.; Gonzalez; Hernandez Luna; Hopson; Howard, D.; Johnson; King, T.; Lucio; Lyne; Mallory Caraway; Martinez; McClendon; Pickett; Quintanilla; Raymond; Reynolds; Ritter; Rodriguez; Sheffield; Smith, W.; Strama; Walle.
This is just one example of why local and State elections have large consequences.
Vote wisely, my friends.
Daniel Miller is a true Conservative running in the Texas D21 Republican primary against a former Democrat with one of the most liberal voting records in the state (who incidentally changed party affiliation to Republican just after the
Please consider donating to Daniel’s campaign to unseat a life-long liberal and certified RINO. We need to remind Austin of Texas’ duty to protect it’s people from the intrusion of the federal government into decisions which aught to be entirely personal.
Daniel Miller’s website: TexansforMiller.com