Franks, Pence urge Military to Re-InviteFranklin GrahamtoNational Day of Prayer Event
May 5, 2010 —Congressman Trent Franks(AZ-02) andCongressman Mike Pence(IN-06), Chairman of the House Republican Conference, released the following statement today as they were joined by 34 Members of the House in sending a letter* urging Secretary Gates to reconsider the military’s decision to revoke its invitation to Rev. Franklin Graham to participate in theNational Day of Prayer eventat thePentagon:
Franks stated,"OurFounding Fathersrealized that chief among our inalienable liberties is the right to possess one's own religious beliefs, and the ability to express those beliefs freely. No one knows the cost of defending and protecting the sacred freedom of religious expression more than ournoble men and womenin the armed services. To rescind Franklin Graham's invitation for these overtly political reasons is a disgrace that is obviously being done to placate a few outspoken critics, and an affront to those ideals that are the essence of America and that are reflected throughout America's history.
“I am grateful today to be joined by my colleagueMike Penceand 34 otherMembers of Congressin calling on Secretary Gates to reconsider this decision, and once again extend the invitation for Franklin Graham to address ourmilitary men and womenon theNational Day of Prayer."
Congressman Pencestated,“The men and women of our military put themselves in harm’s way to protect our freedom. And chief among those freedoms is the right of religious expression. America was founded on the notion that the government should not interfere with the religious practices or expressions of our people.
“That’s why it is so disheartening that leaders in our military have rescinded an invitation to Rev. Franklin Graham because of something he said about areligious belief. Rev. Graham is held in high esteem by many in our country. He has served the sick and needy with compassion. And like his father before him, Franklin has spoken his religious beliefs with unwavering clarity.
“Not everyone will agree with all that Rev. Graham has to say. But we can agree that ourConstitutionprotects his right to say what he believes. There should be no equivocation on that point, and I am urging President Obama and Secretary Gates to direct the military to once again invite Rev. Graham to Thursday’sNational Day of Prayer eventat the Pentagon.”
Other signatories include:Robert Aderholt(AL-04),Todd Akin(MO-02),Michele Bachmann(MN-06),Spencer Bachus(AL-06),Gresham Barrett(SC-03),Gus Bilirakis(FL-09),John Boozman(AR-03),Michael Burgess(TX-26),Dan Burton(IN-05),Ken Calvert(CA-44), John Fleming (LA-04),Phil Gingrey(GA-11),Louie Gohmert(TX-01), Ralph Hall (TX-04),Wally Herger(CA-02),Darrell Issa(CA-49),Jim Jordan(OH-04),Steve King(IA-05),Doug Lamborn(CO-05),Bob Latta(OH-05),Jack Kingston(GA-01),Don Manzullo(IL-16), Gary Miller (CA-42),Randy Neugebauer(TX-19), Pete Olson (TX-22), Joe Pitts (PA-16),Phil Roe(TN-01),Chris Smith(NJ-04), Lamar Smith (TX-21),Jean Schmidt(OH-02),Aaron Schock(IL-18),John Shadegg(AZ-03),Todd Tiahrt(KS-04), andFrank Wolf(VA-10).