Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Jesus would be maligned as ‘radical’ by today’s Congress

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) used her Christian faith to ardently defend the rights of LGBTQ Americans during a congressional committee hearing on Thursday ― calling out the “bigotry” of those who use Christianity to discriminate against this marginalized community.

The lawmaker suggested that Jesus himself would be “maligned as a radical” by today’s Congress for his message of love and inclusion. 

She said it strikes her that “if Christ himself walked through these doors and said what he said thousands of years ago ― that we should love our neighbor and our enemy, that we should welcome the stranger, fight for the least of us, that it is easier ... for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into a kingdom of heaven ― he would be maligned as a radical and rejected from these doors.”

Ocasio-Cortez was speaking at a Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing on the ways the Trump administration has tried to undermine LGBTQ rights. 

16 PHOTOS
AOC
See Gallery
AOC
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, speaks at a rally for Sen. Bernie Sanders in Queensbridge Park. (Photo by Gordon Donovan/Yahoo News)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 19: Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) waves with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) as she endorses him during his speech at a campaign rally in Queensbridge Park on October 19, 2019 in the Queens borough of New York City. This is Sanders' first rally since he paused his campaign for the nomination due to health problems. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 19: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) endorses Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) at a campaign rally in Queensbridge Park on October 19, 2019 in the Queens borough of New York City. This is Sanders' first rally since he paused his campaign for the nomination due to health problems. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 19: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) endorses Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) at a campaign rally in Queensbridge Park on October 19, 2019 in the Queens borough of New York City. This is Sanders' first rally since he paused his campaign for the nomination due to health problems. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
AOC says bigger scandal than Trump's 'lawbreaking behavior' is Dems' refusal to impeach

"This is an immediate threat, it is an immediate, immediate threat, and it is extraordinarily serious," Ocasio-Cortez told reporters on the steps of the U.S. Capitol building on Friday.

She added that in her view there was not more support among Democrats for impeachment proceedings to be leveled against Trump because of challenging elections coming up in their districts.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Friday that the acting director of national intelligence was breaking the law with his decision to withhold from Congress a whistleblower complaint reported to address communications between President Donald Trump and a foreign leader.

UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 20: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., stops to speak with reporters outside of the Capitol after the final votes of the week on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
AOC on DC statehood: 'Disenfranchisement' of DC rooted in the 'history of slavery'
AOC endorses first liberal candidate against incumbent Democrat
AOC Calls for Kavanaugh’s Impeachment following Botched NYT Article

Often referred to by her initials, AOC, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made history when she became the youngest woman ever to serve in the United States Congress at 29. Since being elected in 2018, the Puerto Rican Bronx native has continued to make headlines thanks to her Green New Deal and outspoken commentary on social media.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., attends a House Oversight Committee hearing on high prescription drugs prices shortly after her private meeting with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, July 26, 2019. The high-profile freshman and the veteran Pelosi have been critical of one another recently. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
FILE - In this Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019 file photo, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., delivers her inaugural address following her swearing-in ceremony at the Renaissance School for Musical Theater and Technology in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/Kevin Hagen, File)
U.S. House of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez listens during the NAACP town hall at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundations (CBCF) 49th Annual Legislative Conference (ALC). Moderated by political strategist & CNN political commentator Angela Rye, in conversation with fellow Representatives: Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, and Ilhan Omar, addressing the 2020 census, voting rights, and the upcoming presidential election. The town hall took place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, September 11, 2019. (Photo by Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 29: U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) speaks at a public housing town hall at a New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) residence on August 29, 2019 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Cortez, who represents residents from parts of the Bronx and Queens boroughs, spoke about issues residents face in New York, where one in 14 live in public housing. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

In opening remarks, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland) said the Trump administration has used executive orders, amicus briefs in legal disputes, and agency guidance and regulations to roll back protections for LGBTQ people.

“The Trump administration has been working zealously to turn the government into an instrument of hostility and opposition towards LGBTQ rights across the executive branch of government,” Raskin said. 

Last year, an NBC News and Columbia Journalism Investigation found that Trump’s Justice Department filed more amicus briefs in religious liberties cases in its first two years than the Obama and George W. Bush administrations during their first two years.

Raskin pointed to an amicus brief the Justice Department filed in support of Masterpiece Cakeshop, the Colorado bakery that argued it had a right, for religious reasons, to refuse to make customized wedding cakes for gay customers.

He also referred to a proposed Health and Human Services Department rule that would have allowed health care workers to refuse care due to religious convictions. A federal judge voided the “conscience” rule in November. LGBTQ groups had argued that the rule would have let providers deny care to queer patients.

The White House, in a response to HuffPost, accused Raskin and Ocasio-Cortez of “deliberately distorting the president’s record” and refusing to “credit any action he’s taken to protect and promote LGBTQ Americans.”

“The president believes in human dignity for all and that no one should be discriminated against, including religious organizations and the LGBTQ community,” a White House spokesperson said in an email. “Since taking office, President Trump has taken actions that build on his longstanding commitment to responsibly safeguard the fundamental right to religious freedom by eliminating unfair and unequal treatment by the federal government.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), speaking at a House committee hearing Thursday, talked about her own faith and decried those who cite religious reasons for rejecting medical care for people. She cited a Catholic hospital that canceled a scheduled hysterectomy for a transgender man.

Among the witnesses at Thursday’s hearing was Evan Minton, a transgender man who is suing a Catholic hospital in California for canceling his hysterectomy. The Trump administration had cited Minton’s case to justify why the conscience rule was necessary.

Ocasio-Cortez said that her faith teaches her that Minton’s life is sacred and that he deserves equal access to medical care.

“There is nothing holy about rejecting medical care of people, no matter who they are, on the grounds of what their identity is,” she said. “There is nothing holy about turning someone away from a hospital.”

Ocasio-Cortez, who identifies as Catholic, frequently refers to her religious beliefs onTwitter. Shortly after winning the 2018 Democratic primary, she published a piece in the Jesuit magazine America describing how her Catholic faith inspired her to fight for criminal justice reform. Echoing Pope Francis, she has also expressed support for refugees by pointing out that Jesus himself was a refugee.

The congresswoman said Thursday that America has a history of using scripture to justify bigotry.

“White supremacists have done it, those who justified slavery did it, those who fought against integration did it and we’re seeing it today,” she said.

She accused the Trump administration of advancing the idea that “faith is about exclusion.” 

“I know and it is part of my faith that all people are holy and all people are sacred. Unconditionally,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

“I am tired of communities of faith being weaponized and being mischaracterized because the only time religious freedom is invoked is in the name of bigotry and discrimination,” she added.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
Read Full Story