Florida Gov. Rick DeSantis on Wednesday encouraged a group of Christian attorneys attending a conference to "stand firm for what's right" and "put on the full armor of God" as they defend religious liberty.
DeSantis made the remarks in Florida at the Alliance Defending Freedom's Summit on Religious Liberty as he recounted his own record of defending religious freedom and conservative values. ADF, founded by Christian leaders, is a legal organization that protects "religious freedom, free speech, marriage and family, parental rights, and the sanctity of life," according to its website.
"I appreciate what you're doing, because I know you face blowback. I know the media smears. I know that you take on cases that are not popular with certain segments of our elite institutions. God bless you for being willing to do it," DeSantis, a Republican, said. "... I just would say whether you're doing legal battles, whether you're a judge, whether you're an elected official – stand firm for what's right, put on the full armor of God. Take a stand against the Left schemes. Take up the shield of faith. You're gonna face flaming arrows – that's guaranteed – but stand strong. Hold the line, and don't ever, ever back down."
DeSantis told the audience of his record of taking positions and signing laws typically opposed by progressives, including a new law prohibiting transgender girls (biological boys) from playing on girls' teams.
"It's discrimination against women athletes to force them to participate against male athletes," DeSantis said.
Although corporations and the NCAA opposed the bill, DeSantis said, he still signed it.
"We had very little blowback at that point," he said. "Of course, the Left and the media, they did their thing, but nobody listens to them anymore. So I don't know why politicians listen to them."
DeSantis also addressed the subject of churches being closed during the pandemic.
"You had places throughout this country where churches were closed, but strip clubs were open, or liquor stores were open – you tell me how that makes any sense whatsoever," he said. "And so I think this idea of certain things being essential or not, honestly, is something that we've got to throw in the trash can."
"Wokeness," he said, dominates academia, media, corporate America and "big tech." But it has very little support "outside of those aspects of our society," he added.
"And so if you stand up for what's right, they may want to chirp at you," he said. "… But if you stand, you're standing on behalf of a huge, huge silent majority of Americans who may not have access to those high commanding heights of some of our elite institutions, but who have strength in numbers and who understand common sense."
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Joe Raedle/Staff
Video courtesy: ©Alliance Defending Freedom
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.