One Nation, Under God
The U.S. Capitol is typically a busy place. But on a Wednesday morning in February, the halls went quiet as Reverend Billy Graham was laid in honor under the Capitol Dome. He is just the fourth private citizen in history to receive that rite, and I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to represent South Dakota at the ceremony. Rev. Graham’s spiritual influence has helped shape the way I view the role of faith in government, so to be present as our country came together to honor his contributions is an opportunity I will long treasure.
Rev. Graham was known as America’s Pastor for good reason. He shared the hope we find in Christ with 13 presidents, millions of service members, and countless others across the globe. He brought people from every background together as One Nation, Under God.
President Reagan once said, “If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under.” How true that statement is!
I believe that faith, family and freedom are essential to America’s long-term prosperity, and I have consistently worked to restore these principles in public life. We’re starting to make some meaningful progress.
Early in President Trump’s term, Justice Neil Gorsuch was confirmed, adding another conservative, pro-life member to the Supreme Court bench.
Later that year after a series of natural disasters, churches stepped up to provide housing for the homeless. They served as meeting points for families. And they offered a central location from which volunteers could organize. Many were damaged by the disasters too, but “Houses of Worship” were prohibited from receiving certain support from FEMA. As a result, there was little help when it came time to rebuild. We worked with the Trump administration to lift those restrictions, helping ensure churches could continue their community-driven missions.
More recently, President Trump announced a plan to better protect medical workers who object to performing abortions and other services that go against their moral values. This is a policy I’ve long supported as the cosponsor of the Conscience Protection Act. Simply put, no person should ever have to go to work and be forced to deny their deepest religious convictions.
These positions, as well as my work to defund Planned Parenthood, recently earned me a 100 percent rating from the Family Research Council, a conservative religious liberty policy center. Even so, I recognize more must be done to secure religious liberty in our country.
Rev. Graham once said that “being a Christian is more than just an instantaneous conversion. It is a daily process whereby you grow to be more and more like Christ.” The same is true for our nation. Even our Constitution acknowledges this fact in it’s opening line: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union…”
May Rev. Graham’s legacy continue to inspire our journey toward a more perfect union. May the message of Christ’s love that he shared guide our leaders and unite us all as One Nation, Under God.