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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Walter Hudson (R)

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Legislative update

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Dear Neighbor,

House Democrats on Monday dealt another blow to our First Amendment freedom of religion. 

Two days later, they cut the work week short to go home and practice their faith during this holy season.

The hypocrisy is nothing short of breathtaking.

It all started Monday as Republicans intensified efforts to address an issue related to religious freedom. A press conference took place that day, with dozens of religious leaders from around the state joining Republicans in calling for religious freedom to be restored in the Minnesota Human Rights Act, protecting religious organizations and faith-based schools against claims of gender identity discrimination.

Shortly thereafter, Democrats in the majority tabled a House Republican motion to bring forward legislation to make that happen. The bill is H.F. 3926, which ensures religious organizations and faith-based schools can, among other things, hire teachers and ministers consistent with their mission and values. This is a longstanding constitutional norm the party who always lectures us about norms is abandoning.

I have made the point numerous times Democrats realize they cannot erase the Second Amendment from our Constitution in one quick action, but are attempting to achieve the same result by nickling and diming this hallowed document to death and making it impractical and legally hazardous for people to own guns.

Same is true here. Democrats realize they cannot simply pluck the First Amendment from our Constitution. But what they can do – and are doing – is selectively slice and dice the core principles it provides. They're trying to make it impractical and legally hazardous for people to practice free speech and religion. Many would argue the freedom of (mainstream) press already was thrown overboard; whether that's a self-inflicted loss is a story for another day.

Back to the issue at hand: It remains unclear when – or if – the Democrat-controlled House will revisit the bill House Republicans are proposing to restore religious freedoms in Minnesota. Instead of taking action, they punted and sidestepped responsibility. It was the third time this session Democrats had at least temporarily blocked a Republican attempt at restoring religious freedom language to the HRA, following committee votes in both the House and the Senate. 

Democrats have exposed faith communities to probable legal harassment from hostile activists looking to "dismantle" traditional institutions. Their continued refusal to correct this unconstitutional encroachment upon fundamental rights is abhorrent and unacceptable.

They flipped the game board on religious freedom, refuse to set it straight and went home to practice Abrahamic faith. 

Just imagine doing something so unconscionable and then walking into church this weekend as if nothing happened and everything is normal.