At town hall, Labrador depicts a right to religion that’s ‘under constant attack’

U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador, a Republican candidate for governor, speaks at a Monday event at Full Life Family Church in Twin Falls.
U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador, a Republican candidate for governor, speaks at a Monday event at Full Life Family Church in Twin Falls. Times-News

Congressman and gubernatorial hopeful Raul Labrador touched down in Twin Falls Monday night for a town hall meeting on “traditional family values” at the Full Life Family Church.

Speaking to an audience of about 20 people, Labrador addressed topics ranging from proposed tax cuts to illegal immigration and discussed his “Defending Idaho Values” plan, released earlier that day.

The Idaho Values plan includes support for “traditional marriage” between a man and a woman, enacting Stand Your Ground legislation in Idaho, ending state funding for healthcare clinics that provide abortions and the protection of religious freedoms.

“Sometimes we want to separate religion from politics, but the reality is that our values determine who we are as a nation and determine who we are as a people,” Labrador told event attendees Monday night.

“We’re kind of letting society think that it’s okay to be whatever you want to be, and it’s okay to just have no moral compass,” he said.

Freedom of religion is “under constant attack” in Idaho and elsewhere, Labrador told the Times-News in an interview after the discussion.

He emphasized his opposition to the perennial “Add the Words” campaign, which would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the state’s human rights act.

“The moment you add the words, then there will be special protections for certain groups,” he said. “And there will be a conflict between an individual’s rights and a person’s religious rights.”

If elected governor, the congressman said in a statement earlier in the day, he will “actively look for an opportunity” to challenge the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 Obergefell ruling, which legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states. States should be able to choose for themselves how to define marriage, Labrador said.

The Idaho Values plan also calls for the state to reform civil asset forfeiture law — to make it illegal for law enforcement to seize the property of a person who has not been charged or convicted of a crime — and a repeal of mandatory minimum sentences.

The proposal to end mandatory minimums comes at a time when the state’s prisons are bursting at the seams; the Department of Correction announced last week that it would send up to 250 inmates to Texas due to a lack of bed space in Idaho.

“I believe our state is imprisoning too many people who are low-level offenders,” Labrador told the Times-News. “I think that...we should look for different alternatives for them so the state doesn’t have to pay for their prison time and then we don’t have to doubly pay for it because they come out of the prison system as worse individuals.”

The “Defending Idaho Values” plan is the fourth plank of Labrador’s Conservative Vision for a Stronger Idaho platform. Previous planks include plans to strengthen Idaho’s economy, “Make Government More Fair and Accountable,” and “Dismantle The Power And Perks Of Establishment Politicians.”