‘We’ve Got a Very Bad History’: GOP Officials Slam GOP for Banning Rock Church from Capitol Hill
The rock church at the heart of the Republican effort to impeach President Trump has received criticism from lawmakers who say the ban is an assault on religious freedom.
The ban has been condemned by conservatives and liberals alike as a dangerous attack on freedom of religion.
But Republican lawmakers say they are not backing down, saying they are focused on protecting the First Amendment.
“We’re not changing the bill at all,” said Rep. David Dreier, a Republican from Florida.
“It’s really about protecting religious liberty.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Thursday the ban should be called a “historic victory” for religious freedom, a position that was backed by Trump, who called it “a historic victory for freedom of speech.”
“This is about the First Amendement.
This is about freedom of worship.
This isn’t about banning rock concerts or rock concerts in churches,” she said on CNN.
“The First Amendment is very clear.
It’s not about banning a church or a church in the state capitol.
The First Amendment says, ‘You shall worship according to your faith.'”
But Dreier told The Associated Press on Friday that the bill would make the Capitol grounds a “closed, shut, locked, smoke-free zone.”
He said he was surprised to hear House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., say he opposes the bill.
“If the president wants to ban rock concerts, I’d love to hear him speak to the members of Congress who are against this bill,” Dreier said.
“I don’t think he should be putting his weight behind this bill because the bill does not protect religious liberty.
It does not address any of these issues.”
Dreier and Rep. Michael Grimm, a Democrat from New York, who is also a former prosecutor, have been pushing the bill for months.
They have been joined by Rep. Keith Ellison, D of Minnesota, who has been the driving force behind a bipartisan group of House Republicans that have been trying to block the ban.
Ellison has been working to bring the bill to the floor and support from Democrats and Republicans, including Trump, has been difficult.
He has refused to support any bills that would ban public rallies or concerts on federal property.
But Ellison said the ban will be a “very bad precedent” for the country.
“They have decided they’re going to take away your First Amendment rights,” Ellison told the AP in an interview.
“This bill is going to put a wall up.
It is a very bad precedent, and it will hurt religious liberty in this country.”
The rock band The National also is facing pressure to reconsider its decision to play in Washington D.C. after lawmakers passed a bill to bar churches from performing in the city.
The bill would prohibit the federal government from using taxpayer money to pay for religious services.
But The National said it will keep performing, despite the bill’s ban.
The band’s leader, Billie Joe Armstrong, said in a statement on Thursday that the band was still working to secure a venue in Washington, D.U., and “we have plans to continue to play until the ban on our music is repealed.”
The ban, though, has also drawn criticism from conservatives and liberal groups.
The American Civil Liberties Union, a civil liberties group, said Thursday it was “disappointed” in the House’s move to ban the rock concert.
“While the bill protects religious liberty, the ban would violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments, and the bill makes clear that religious exercise will continue regardless of what the government does,” said ACLU deputy legal director Matt Baker.
“As the ACLU has long said, it is unconscionable that the Trump administration has targeted a group of people for their religious beliefs and singled them out for persecution.”
Republican Rep. Justin Amash, the top vote-counter for House Republicans, also said on Twitter that the ban “does not protect the First or Fourteenth Amendment.”