By Message Staff
WASHINGTON – Representatives Ralph Abraham, M.D, and Mike Johnson are two co-sponsors of H.R. 6633, the Turkey International Financial Institutions Act, that directs U.S. representatives at international financial institutions to oppose loans to Turkey, pending the release of U.S. citizens and consular staff.
Abraham is a member of the First Baptist Church in Alto, and Johnson is a member of the First Baptist Church in Bossier City.
The bill is in response to Turkey’s wrongful imprisonment of North Carolina pastor Andrew Brunson, who has served in Turkey for 23 years as a missionary. He has been held captive by the Turkish government for nearly two years where he has reportedly been subjected to deplorable conditions and denied legal counsel.
“Too many Christian missionaries face persecution world-wide for practicing their faith,” Abraham said in a press release. “It’s time for President Erdogan to release Pastor Brunson and any Americans he’s holding and allow them to come home, or his nation should face the consequences.
Saying these sanctions “will hit them where they hurt,” Abraham urged Erdogan to avoid the sanctions and simply do the right thing “and let these people come home.”
There were 19 other original cosponsors.
Meanwhile, Abraham and Johnson joined five other members of the Louisiana congressional delegation (Sens. Bill Cassidy, John Kennedy; Reps. Steve Scalise, Clay Higgins, Garret Graves)to sign a petition asking the Supreme Court, July 27, to overturn the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and keep a cross as part of a memorial, in Bladensburg, Md., which honors veterans who died in World War I.
Only one Louisiana lawmaker, Rep. Cedric Richmond of New Orleans, did not sign the amicus brief.
The federal lawsuit was filed by the American Humanist Association, which said the giant Latin cross on public property violates the Constitution’s First Amendment against government establishment of religion.
However, Scalise argued taking down the cross was an infringement of religious liberty.
“We must protect our national memorials to those who have given their all in support of our country and acknowledge the role that religion plays in American life,” he said.
One hundred nine U.S. senators and representatives signed the amicus brief in support of the cross.