The Brody File has obtained an exclusive document that lays out in detail Newt Gingrich’s plan on day one of his administration to create, through Executive Order, a Presidential Commission on Religious Freedom in the United States.
The 20-page document, provided to The Brody File by the Gingrich campaign, states that on the first day of his administration an Executive Order would be established to create a Religious Freedom Commission that would,
“Examine and document threats or impediments to religious freedom in the United States and to propose steps for reaffirming and protecting the foundational principle of freedom of thought, conscience, and religious belief upon which our republic is built and thrives.”
Gingrich has spent years waxing poetic about the importance of America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and how secular atheists would love to remove all references to God from the public square. He’s written books about it (Rediscovering God in America: Reflections on the Role of Faith in Our Nation's History) and made documentaries, too.
While Gingrich knows this commission will be welcomed by conservative evangelicals (read: key primary voters), this should not be read as an attempt to pander. Gingrich has too much “street cred” in this department for this to look like anything but a serious attempt to highlight and focus on a real concern that Gingrich has had for years.
More about the document: It begins with a detailed outline of the mission for the proposed Executive Order. Gingrich’s campaign plans to form a working group during the Primaries and General Election in a quest to finalize the details of it by Sept. 27, 2012. The commission would be made up of no more than 12 members and they would be allowed to hold hearings and inquiries as part of the research.
This 20-page document will be disseminated by the campaign to a myriad of different groups and organizations after Christmas. However, you can read the entire document here.
The document makes clear that, “Today, the foundations of religious freedom in this country are being eroded as never before.” It lays out 12 areas that the commission should investigate. Among them:
The extent to which courts throughout the U.S. are undermining the First Amendment and misconstruing the historical basis for religious freedom in America.
The extent to which schools from primary to university level are discriminating against religious viewpoints, restricting religious expression, or forcing students to violate their conscience by forcibly imposing beliefs about sexual orientation, gender, same sex “marriage” and abortion, to which students have constitutionally protected religious objections.
The extent to which religious freedom is threatened by new policies and regulations of the Department of Health and Human Services regarding the delivery of health and healthcare services in the United States, including for example, any new HHS mandate that would require health-insurance plans to cover contraception, sterilization and drugs known to induce abortion that may violate and interfere with the religious freedom of individuals, and the weakening of conscience clause protections for healthcare workers.
The extent to which individuals have been harassed or threatened for exercising key civil rights to organize, to speak, to donate or to vote for marriage and to propose new protections, if needed.
The extent to which the protection of religious expression and religious freedom for military chaplains and other service members who support the historical, religious definition of marriage as one man and one woman may be threatened by new laws regarding conduct in the military.
The impact on religious freedom of same-sex “marriage” and non-discrimination laws, including the rights of individuals, businesses and religious institutions that have a conscientious objection to providing or engaging in services that support values they oppose.
As The Brody File read the document, we noticed plenty of references to how Christianity is under attack in America today. Below is some of the language from the Gingrich campaign document:
“The Founders knew that in a free society religious vibrancy is the surest bulwark against government corruption. And yet their method of promoting and protecting religious vibrancy was an exception to historical precedent. To understand why, one must first recall just how deeply and fervently committed the Founders were not to an abstract notion of faith, but to a faith that was explicitly Christian.”
“The Founders would have regarded such efforts to remove God and religious expression from public life as a fundamental threat to liberty. They saw no contradiction between the First Amendment, which was designed to protect religious liberty, and the need for a free people to remember that their liberties come from God.”
“No attack on American culture is more historically dishonest or socially destructive than the relentless effort to drive God out of America’s public square.”
“Today, there are ongoing efforts to remove the constitutional protections of faith and the faithful from our system of government, and to eliminate any public acknowledgment that our liberties come from God. No one should be fooled into believing that this was the intention of our Founding Fathers, nor that doing so will yield anything but a corrupt, despotic government.”
“The choice before us is whether to accept such a society, or to reaffirm and reassert the truth within our families, our workplaces, and our communities that the cause of human freedom can only be realized in a society that protects, supports, and defends the fundamental rights of freedom of religion and freedom of conscience.”