Current United States senator, and former vice-presidential nominee, Joseph Lieberman delivered a speech today emphasizing the importance of religious liberty to an audience at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.
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“We are now at the start of a presidential campaign in which discussions and debates about the relationship between politics and religion, about the proper place of faith in the public square, have already begun to play a prominent role,” said the senator from Connecticut. “These are not new questions; they are very old. They go back to the founders of our country. ... The remarkable documents that they wrote and embraced guaranteed religious freedom for everyone not just them that shared their faith.”
According to Lieberman, the United States continues to share a unique commitment to freedom of religion.
The senator credited religious influence in America's democracy with being a force for good in the nation’s history. “Some of the most important movements of conscience in our history emerged from the convictions of religious people and used the language and liturgy of faith to build popular support,” he said, citing the abolitionist, suffrage and civil rights movements.
Despite belonging to a minority faith, Lieberman said, he sensed an American spirit of religious acceptance during his 2000 vice-presidential nomination.
“We have pretty rigid rules for observant Jews about what we can eat, and drink, and when,” he said. “We have different practices, but the great thing that I experienced in 2000 was that those practices were put aside because of all we shared and also because of our national ideals of religious freedom and no religious test for public office.”
Currently Sen. Lieberman serves as the chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. He has been a member of the Senate for 22 years representing the state of Connecticut.
Watch Sen. Lieberman's entire speech above (his address begins at the 2:15 mark).
See other recent addresses on religious freedom:
"We Are All Enlisted"
Elder Russell M. Nelson
To the Young Adults of the Boston and Hingham Stakes
10 June 2010
Excerpts from speech
"The Threatened Demise of Religion in the Public Square"
Elder Lance B. Wickman
J. Reuben Clark Law Society
11 February 2010
Full text of speech
Elder Dallin H. Oaks
Brigham Young University-Idaho
13 October 2009