Jeb Bush opted for a "kinder, gentler" but clear attack on same-sex marriage while at Liberty University today.
Likely Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush delivered the keynote address to 34,000 students, faculty, friends, and family from the stage atop Liberty University's sprawling football field Saturday morning. Unsurprisingly, given his audience, his speech focused on Christianity as the elder Bush brother tried to position himself as a religious warrior prepared to battle the federal government and federal judges on issues from a woman's right to choose, to Obamacare regulations providing strong standards of healthcare and contraception services, to one of the largest issues facing the religious right: same-sex marriage.
Calling for a stronger "Christian voice" around the world, the former Florida governor took aim at the President on religious freedom, claiming the Obama administration is "demanding obedience, in complete disregard of religious conscienceâ€”and in a free society, the answer is no."
"What should be easy calls in favor of religious freedom have instead become an aggressive stance against it," Bush told the crowd.
"There are consequences when you don't genuflect to the latest secular dogmas. And those dogmas can be hard to keep up with. So we find officials in a major city demanding that pastors turn over copies of their sermons," Bush said, referring to Mayor Annise Parker, whose attorneys subpoenaed a wide range of documents from pastors who brought a lawsuit against Houston's nondiscrimination ordinance.
"Or federal judges mistaking themselves for elected legislators, and imposing restrictions and rights that do not exist in the Constitution," Bush continued, taking subtle aim at the more than 60 federal and state legal rulings in support of same-sex marriage in just two years, bringing marriage equality to the vast majority of American citizens.
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"Or an agency dictating to a Catholic charity, the Little Sisters of the Poor, what has to go in their health plan -- and never mind objections of conscience," Bush said, attacking an Affordable Healthcare law requirement mandating free contraception coverage in health care plans.
"I don't know about you, but I'm betting that when it comes to doing the right and good thing, the Little Sisters of the Poor know better than the regulators at the Department of Health and Human Services," he said.
"Somebody here is being small-minded and intolerant, and it sure isn't the nuns, ministers, and laymen and women who ask only to live and practice their faith," he railed.
Moral Majority founder Jerry Falwell also founded Liberty University, in 1971. Today it is the largest Evangelical Christian university in the world, and a platform for the Republican Christian right. Senator Ted Cruz announced his presidential campaign there in March. The university is closely affiliated with Liberty Counsel, a far right wing Christian law firm that wages war on the rights of the LGBT community.
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