Congressional Record Vol. 169, No. 65
(Senate - April 19, 2023) PDF

  Mrs. HYDE-SMITH. Madam President, Americans across the country, led 
by Concerned Women for America, the Nation's largest public policy 
organization for women, and other faith-based organizations continue to 
celebrate April as Faith Month. I commend this noble effort calling all 
people of faith to join in prayer, thanksgiving, and celebration of 
their faith.

  The United States of America was born of the unanimous Declaration 
that we are ``endowed by [our] Creator with certain unalienable 
Rights,'' based on ``the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God,'' 
``appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world,'' and acknowledging our 
``reliance on the protection of divine Providence.'' We are a people of 
faith, which is why religious freedom is known as America's first 
freedom, as laid out in the Establishment and the Free Exercise Clauses 
of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The freedom of speech 
is guaranteed by the First Amendment and also supports America's unique 
focus on freedom of expression, including in matters of faith.

  America's Judeo-Christian founding promotes religious diversity and 
tolerance. Our motto, ``In God We Trust,'' further emphasizes the 
importance of faith in our Nation's founding. From our first President 
to the last, we have always acknowledged America's faith. President 
George Washington recognized ``it is the duty of all Nations to 
acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be 
grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and 

  Preserving our religious freedom, which strengthens our country's 
appreciation of all peoples, regardless of faith, requires eternal 
diligence. Sadly, attacks on religious liberty and people of faith are 
growing, with some religious charities forced to betray the tenets of 
their faith in order to participate in certain government programs. We 
must actively reject all efforts to criminalize or cancel religious 
beliefs as somehow incompatible with our democracy.

  Religious organizations in America have a rich history of charitable 
engagement by helping the sick, poor, and afflicted. Their presence in 
my State of Mississippi following devastating and fatal tornadoes in 
March has been a blessing to those trying to rebuild their lives. Their 
service demonstrates why these organizations should be celebrated, not 
maligned, for their contributions to improve life. According to the Pew 
Research Center, more than 75 percent of Americans practice some type 
of religious faith. This rich, diverse religious heritage is to our 
credit and should be encouraged.

  This Faith Month, I join millions of Americans in honoring the right 
to practice our faith freely and openly, with public displays and 
celebrations, including prayer and expressions of thanksgiving. In this 
manner, we reaffirm our commitment to the religious liberty principles 
of our founding.