Sen. Josh Hawley tells religious conservatives nation needs a 'baptism of courage'

Sen. Hawley grills DOJ official on attempt to ‘chill’ parents’ speech

‘Fox & Friends’ hosts discuss the DOJ probe into recent conflicts at local school board meetings over mask requirements and critical race theory.

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., told a gathering of religious conservatives on Friday that the faithful need a “baptism of courage” as they encounter new pressures from the left.

“I just want to say to you that it’s my firm conviction that in this hour, in this time of testing, for our nation and for us as believers, what we need as believers above all is we need a baptism of courage,” Hawley said at the Pray Vote Stand Summit in Leesburg, Va.

“And we also need a baptism of hope because it’s hope that gives us courage.”

The gathering of religious conservatives included speakers lamenting the Justice Department’s recent attempts to probe intimidation at school boards. That earned the ire of Republican Glenn Youngkin, who also spoke at Friday’s event and has elevated the issue in Virginia’s gubernatorial race.

Hawley, meanwhile, has sent a letter to the attorney general, expressing concern that the DOJ would chill parents’ free speech with its new investigation. 

“Not on my watch and not without a fight,” said Hawley at Friday’s event. “I am not going to stand by. I will not stand idly by while this administration uses the federal government against us. I will not stand by while they trample our First Amendment rights.”

DOJ recently announced it would coordinate a nationwide investigation after the National School Board Association (NSBA) suggested educators might be encountering domestic terrorism. In it, NSBA referenced several instances of reported violence or intimidation. 

Garland’s memo didn’t use the term “domestic terrorist” and clarified that “spirited debate” was not the target of his probe. Nonetheless, Hawley has expressed concern about the NSBA letter, which invoked the Patriot Act, and the potential for overreach.

The Missouri senator also asked attendees to pray every day for the Supreme Court until Dec. 1, when it’s scheduled to hear oral arguments in Dobbs v. Mississippi. Hawley described the case as the most important pro-life case in a generation and hoped the Court would overturn Roe v. Wade. 

“It is the worst decision certainly of this century,” he said of Roe. One of the absolute worst decisions in our country’s history. It ranks right up there with Dred Scott, which extended slavery all across this country and required a Civil War to destroy.”

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