The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Our Readers Speak

January 26, 2014

Our Readers Speak — Sunday, January 26, 2014

Standing up for rights lifts nation as a whole

I appreciate the opportunity to respond to the letter writer who described himself as an atheist and to me as one who demonizes atheists.

Certainly, I defy anyone to find any instance where I have expressed any negative opinions about an individual’s religious beliefs or lack thereof.

As a Member of Congress, I take an oath of office and “solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same ... So help me God.”

That is the same Constitution that guarantees every American “equal protection of the laws.”

I take my oath very seriously and to heart. No matter how much in my heart of hearts I may disagree with someone, I would not disrespect their belief, or lack of believing, in anything for that matter.

And, as a Christian, I was raised and taught that we are ALL God’s children, so I don’t believe in demonizing anyone.

The writer seemed to suggest that by my standing up and defending those who believe in God, and, specifically, Christians, I have demonized and done injury to him.

When I stand up for the coal miner, this does no harm to the steelworker or to the farmer. It is my hope that every time we stand up for something we believe in, we lift a corner of the country. If we all stand up for our beliefs, we lift this nation as a whole.

Too many have paid the ultimate sacrifice to cower from what we in our hearts and souls believe here in this land where hard-fought liberty reigns. Every American should appreciate that fact.

U.S. Rep. Nick J. Rahall II

Member of Congress

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