Press Release: Senator Hatch Welcomes Pope to U.S., Hopes for Leadership on Religious Liberty

Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, the senior Republican in the United States Senate, will play a prominent role in welcoming the Pope to the Capitol, and plans to use the opportunity to highlight the importance of Religious Liberty. In a video, Sen. Hatch offered his gratitude for the Pope’s visit and discussed his involvement.

 

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(Via YouTube)

On TuesdaySen. Hatch delivered remarks welcoming the Pope and kicking off a series of speeches on the importance of Religious Liberty, as well as his hope to discuss the subject with Pope Francis;

On Wednesday, President Obama invited Senator Hatch to the White House to officially welcome Pope Francis;

On On Thursday, Senator Hatch will be a member of the Congressional escort committee, and will be a part of the procession that leads Pope Francis into the House chamber to speak before the joint session of Congress.

 

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(Via YouTube)

 

In light of Pope Francis’s historic visit, today is an appropriate time to reflect on the importance of religious liberty in American life.  This will be the first of a series of speeches I will be delivering on this vital subject.

Religious liberty is an issue of deep significance to me. I come from a family of faith.  I represent a state that was founded by religious pioneers fleeing persecution. In my many travels, I have seen people express religious devotion in a multitude of ways, affirming their belief in the divine through song, word, and deed. I have also seen misguided government officials limit religious expression, often in the name of security or some other nebulous goal. And I have seen people of courage stand up to these officials, refusing to accept claims that the commands of the state trump rights of religious belief.

The full speech can be found here.

The Pope took up the issue of religious liberty in the opening of his remarks at the White House this morning. The Pope said,

“With countless other people of good will, they are likewise concerned that efforts to build a just and wisely ordered society respect their deepest concerns and their right to religious liberty. That freedom remains one of America's most precious possessions. And, as my brothers, the United States Bishops, have reminded us, all are called to be vigilant, precisely as good citizens, to preserve and defend that freedom from everything that would threaten or compromise it.”

President Obama also spoke out about the importance of religious liberty in his own remarks, saying:

“You remind us that people are only truly free when they can practice their faith freely. Here in the United States, we cherish religious liberty. Yet around the world at this very moment, children of God, including Christians, are targeted and even killed because of their faith.”