March 3, 2011

06 RNS: Mark Kellner Reports From NRB

House Speaker Cites Faith, Freedom
in Speech to Christian Broadcasters
Addresses National Religious Broadcasters Convention
BY MARK A. KELLNER,  News Editor, Reporting from Nashville, Tennessee
Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, connected America's national heritage with its spiritual one in a speech before leaders of the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) who assembled in Nashville for their annual meeting. The 53rd Speaker of the House of Representatives chose the Christian broadcasters group for his first speech outside of Washington in his new job, a selection he said was deliberate.
"No man can serve two masters’ was the message from Matthew this morning. ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you,'" Boehner said in introducing his subject.“That passage got me thinking about how America was founded on humility. Patrick Henry’s fiery appeal to his countrymen is remembered for its closing, ‘Give me liberty or give me death,’" he added.
“Often left out of our textbooks is what came before that, when Henry first appealed to the ‘just God who presides over the destinies of nations.’" Boehner added, “Faith in the Almighty gave our forefathers the courage to secure freedom for themselves and future generations. Not long after completing the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson started on another manuscript, one proclaiming religious freedom for the people of Virginia. ‘Almighty God hath created the mind free,’ he began. History’s lesson is this: freedom is a God-given right, and we, the people, must ensure government does not take it away."
Along with his recollection of history, Boehner mentioned the difficulties of the present, in which a burgeoning amount of debt for cities, states and the federal government is a moral crisis as well as a fiscal one.
“It is immoral to bind our children to as leeching and destructive a force as debt," Mr. Boehner said. "It is immoral to rob our children’s future and make them beholden to China.
“‘A good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children,’ Proverbs reminds us. For too long, Washington has been ignoring this time-honored principle," he added.
The Speaker also voiced support for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's efforts to bring public employee benefits under control, blasting those who call it "an assault" on workers, a phrase also used by President Barack Obama.
"If an assault is being made, it’s on the hard-working families who have to fund government excess. They ask for nothing other than the ability to no longer be used as a revenue stream for an ever-growing government. They are ready to be freed from this empire of debt that threatens their livelihoods and their children’s futures," he said.
“Earlier, when I said, it is up to ‘we, the, people’ to ensure government does not take freedom away, I expressly meant, ‘we, the American people.’"
Boehner's words found an appreciative audience in the largely conservative group of broadcasters: greeted with a standing ovation, he was met with a louder and longer one when he finished.