On Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence took to Twitter to share with America the promise to defend the sanctity of life and the “fundamental freedoms” of religion and speech he made to religious broadcasters a day earlier:
“At the @NRBconvention in Nashville yesterday, I made clear that the Trump Administration will continue to strive until we restore the sanctity of LIFE to the center of American law & we'll continue to work to defend the fundamental freedoms of SPEECH & RELIGION.”
Addressing the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) convention on Tuesday, Pence highlighted the pro-life efforts and successes of the first year of President Donald Trump’s administration:
“I couldn’t be more proud to serve as Vice President to a President who stands without apology for the sanctity of human life. From the first week of our administration, we reinstated the Mexico City Policy, preventing taxpayer dollars from funding organizations that promote and perform abortions around the world.
“And I was honored. I was honored to cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate and have the President sign a bill that empowers all 50 states to defund Planned Parenthood.
Just over one month ago, President Trump became the first President to address the March for Life from the Rose Garden at the White House. And as the President said on that day, our administration, in his words, will ‘always defend the very first right in the Declaration of Independence… the right to life.’”
Pence then outlined the Trump Administration’s pro-life, religious freedom agenda for “the days ahead”:
“In the days ahead, we’ll continue to strive until we restore the sanctity of life to the center of American law. And we’ll also continue to work to defend the fundamental freedoms of speech and religion.
“The First Amendment of the Constitution provides that, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.’ And let me assure everyone here: In this White House, we will always support the unalienable right of the American people to speak out and live out their convictions in the public square.
“Last year, on the National Day of Prayer, President Trump declared, in his words, that the ‘federal government will never, ever penalize any person for their protected religious beliefs.” And he directed the Department of Justice to develop new protections for Americans of faith.
“And we’ll continue — we’ll continue to free up the pulpits of this country by repealing the Johnson Amendment, because freedom shouldn’t stop at the doors of our churches, synagogues, or places of worship.”
But, “the evil that’s been afoot in our nation” needs more than just a government solution, Pence said, calling on Americans to look within, come together, and rekindle the spirit that once made America great:
“But as we work, let’s recognize that the evil that’s been afoot in our nation for too long cannot be fixed by legislation alone, although legislation we need, and we’ll have. Nor can it be fixed by law enforcement alone, though law enforcement we need, and we will support.
“What we also need is more greatness of heart and gentleness of spirit. A greatness that makes us gentle enough to respect even those we might not like, for respect begets respect.
“What we need is that shared sense of belonging, again, one to another, each to all. That timeless value that made us great before, and will make us great again.
“What we need is to encourage more personal responsibility — to speak more, not less, about virtue, fidelity, and service to others. What we need is to strengthen the bonds of community and family and faith.
“We believers don’t have the luxury of ceding our society’s cultural space. We must work to re-inspire society, to offer people renewed hope and new examples, and we need to revive the rich heritage of faith that can help repair the torn fabric of our society. Remembering, as our first Vice President, John Adams, said, ‘Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.’ And so we must strengthen those foundations.”
Ultimately, though, prayer is needed, Pence said, urging all Americans to pray for their country “a little more often”:
“In these challenging times of too much division, of challenges at home and abroad, I encourage, as well, that you and your listeners also draw upon that wellspring of American renewal, to bow the head, and bend the knee, maybe a little more often. Pray for America.
“And pray with confidence that those ancient words are still as true today as they’ve ever been, that if His people - who are called by His name, will humble themselves and pray, He’ll do like He’s always done throughout the long and storied history of this nation. He’ll hear from Heaven, and he’ll heal this land, this one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty, and justice for all.”