Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democratic U.S. Rep from New York, gave a powerful speech about the misuse of religious freedom in America and how she views religion. It’s a powerful speech that I highly recommend watching. The full transcript is below.
The only time religious freedom is invoked is in the name of bigotry and discrimination. I’m tired of it.
I’m experiencing this hearing, and I’m struggling whether I respond or launch into this question as a legislator, or from the perspective of a woman of faith., Because I cannot, it’s very difficult to sit here and listen to arguments in the long history of this country of using scripture, and weaponizing and abusing scripture to justify bigotry. White supremacists have done it, those who justified slavery did it, those who fought against integration did it. And we’re seeing it today.
And sometimes, especially in this body. I feel as though if Christ himself walked through these doors and said, what he said, thousands of years ago, that we should love our neighbor, and our enemy, that we should welcome the stranger, fight for the least of us that it is easier for a rich man, it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into a kingdom of heaven, he would be maligned as a radical and rejected from these doors.
And I know and it is part of my faith that all people are holy.
And all people are sacred unconditionally. And that is what makes faith sometimes that’s what what prompts us to transform, because it is unconditional. It’s not about it is up to us to love parts of people. We love all people.
There is nothing holy about rejecting medical care of people, no matter who they are on the grounds of what their identity is, there is nothing holy about turning someone away from a hospital. There’s nothing holy about about rejecting a child from a family. There’s nothing holy about writing discrimination into the law, and I am tired of communities of being of faith, being weaponized and being mischaracterized because the only time religious freedom is invoked is in the name of bigotry and discrimination. I’m tired of it.
My faith commands me to treat Mr. Minton as holy, because he his sacred. Because his life is sacred. Because you are not to be denied anything that I am entitled to that we are equal in the eyes of the law. And we are equal in my faith in the eyes of the world.
And so I just have to get that out ahead of time, because it is deeply disturbing, not just what is happening here. But what this administration is advancing is the idea that religion and faith is about exclusion. It is not up to us.
It is not up to us to deny medical care. It is up to us to feed the hungry. To clothe the poor, to protect children and to love all people as ourselves.