LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, joined with other legislators, pastors, church groups and concerned citizens at the steps of the Capitol for a rally in support of religious liberty on Wednesday.
The rally was organized by Salt and Light Global in part to seek support for a resolution calling on the governor, attorney general, and other government officials to uphold and protect the fundamental rights of religious people.
Colbeck spoke to those gathered about the importance of remaining vigilant about the rights to free speech and religion.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech,” said Colbeck. “That is the First Amendment found in our United States Constitution and the reason why we are all gathered here today.
“Many of us are led to believe that religious persecution is something that only happens overseas. I regret to inform you that many of us have been lulled to sleep resting upon the assurance of our First Amendment.
“The fact is that our religious freedom and freedom of speech are both under assault in America … before our very own sleepy eyes.
“I am here to tell you that there are over 1200 documented — documented cases — of religious persecution in America over just the past decade. These are only the documented cases. You can find them listed at www.religioushostilities.org.”
Speakers at the rally highlighted several examples of religious intolerance in Michigan.
“It is time to wake up. It is time to take a stand to defend our religious liberty,” said Colbeck. “Thomas Jefferson put it this way: ‘Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God?’”
A video of Colbeck’s entire speech can be found at www.SenatorPatrickColbeck.com.