The evangelical minister who is running to replace Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) as congressman for Georgia's 10th District railed against federal laws protecting LGBT people from employment discrimination on Wednesday, calling them an attack on the freedom of U.S. Christians.
On the Aug. 6 edition of The Jody Hice Show, Hice -- who defeated Republican Mike Collins for the Republican nomination -- said that "literally tons" of faith-based organizations will be unable to "provide the services that they provide" because of President Barack Obama's executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating against people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
"There are literally just tons of organizations that contract with our federal government to provide the services that they provide to people in need -- both in our own country and around the world," said Hice, "and now all of that is in question."
"Are these organizations going to have to shut the doors or are they going to have to sneak around and find other avenues to provide their services?" he asked. "Or are they going to have to forsake their religious convictions and kiss the ring of the federal government in order to keep doing what they do?"
Hice went on to say that there is "no doubt" that the government has no right to set such terms for groups that take government money.
"Is this not precisely what our founders feared," he asked, "when they sat down and wrote the First Amendment as an inalienable right, something that the government has no business intruding in? It is a God-given right for people to believe what they want to believe and to exercise those beliefs? And government cannot interfere with that. Isn't this issue that we're dealing with now precisely why we have a federal acknowledgement of in the First Amendment of religious liberty?"
"Folks, this is exactly why we have a First Amendment," he said.
The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution contains the Establishment Clause, which mandates against any establishment or endorsement of an official faith by the U.S. government. It also forbids the government from favoring any religion over any other faith or spiritual belief, including non-belief.
Hice is running against Democrat Ken Dious in the Republican-drawn northern Georgia district. In 2011, Georgia Republicans voted to redraw the state's districts in such a way as to divide and limit traditionally Democratic voting blocs and maximize Republican holdings in the state.
Current 10th District Rep. Paul Broun is known for his noisy support of the Republican House's multiple unsuccessful attempts to overturn the Affordable Care Act and for his declaration to a group of Christian voters in 2012 that science, the study of evolution and rejection of Biblical Creationism are "lies from the pit of Hell."
Broun ran unopposed for his current House term, which ends in January. He was one of several conservative candidates who competed unsuccessfully for the GOP nomination to fill retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R)'s seat.
Listen to audio of Hice's remarks, embedded below:
[image of Jody Hice via Facebook.com]