Gerald Harris, editor of The Christian Index, recently interviewed Jody Hice, former Georgia Baptist pastor and current U.S. congressman from Georgia’s Tenth District.
Index: How would you as a freshman congressman describe the atmosphere in Washington and at the Capitol in particular? Is it much like you anticipated or have you found the culture and climate to be vastly different?
Hice: I am so honored to represent the 10th District in our nation’s Capital. While it is incredibly humbling to represent my fellow Georgians in Washington, there is nothing like home, which is why I am thrilled to come home every weekend and meet with some of the best constituents in the country.
One of the most difficult things about being a freshman is learning how to navigate the buildings where Congress is housed. I’ll say this, I’m getting better but in the beginning it was an adventure just finding the right committee room. The culture of Washington seems at times too fast, and too slow at the same time. While I believe in working constantly to move the needle in the right direction, there are some issues like reining in the debt that I feel we move too slow on, and other issues I think aren’t given enough consideration.
Index: How have you been received as a new representative from Georgia – particularly when your colleagues found out you have served as a Baptist pastor?
Hice: It’s no secret that I’m one of the more conservative members of Congress. I am thrilled to have met many like-minded individuals in our Conference and enjoy working with them on many issues. I have found that my colleagues appreciate and respect that I am working hard to be a part of solutions to fix our country. I have also found many of my colleagues to be incredibly supportive after hearing that I have served as a Southern Baptist minister. There are many God-fearing members here, and several ministers in both parties.
While we may not always agree line-for-line, I feel privileged to be in the company of many who share strong religious convictions. On the lighter side, while serving as a pastor, I feel like I was re-elected every Sunday depending on the quality of my sermon and I feel that this helped me prepare to serve in Congress.
Index: Are you concerned that our government is minimizing the importance of our founding documents? If so, how is this being expressed?
Hice: I absolutely feel that many of our founding documents are not paid adequate attention. I feel that there is not a strong enough adherence to the Constitution, which manifests when examining many of the laws that are brought before Congress. Additionally, I feel the president has an overwhelming dedication to overstepping his constitutionally defined powers, which we see every time he issues a new executive decree.
One of the most egregious abuses of the president’s use of executive order includes granting amnesty to more than five million illegals. Although the courts have been on our side thus far by refusing to uphold this disastrous executive order, we can’t count on them forever. We need to elect a president who respects the Constitution, and who has a strong respect for the true legislative body, Congress.
Index: What are the most pressing issues you believe Congress will be dealing with during this year?
Hice: Obviously, with the recent Supreme Court decisions we have to be vigilant to defend religious liberties. I’m already fighting for a Constitutional Amendment to protect marriage. In addition to that, there are a number of items Congress has already dealt in which I have been extremely excited to have participated. For instance, so far in this Congress the House has passed six bills that seek to improve the opportunities and services for veterans. I’ve also supported a bill that drastically curbs the EPA’s overreach, which protects Georgia farmers from Washington bureaucrats. Also, we passed another measure that ensures that our seniors have access to quality healthcare.
While we may not always agree line-for-line, I feel privileged to be in the company of many who share strong religious convictions.
These are things we have already accomplished, and I am proud to be a part of the team that passes strong conservative legislation. There are many issues coming down the pike regarding our nation’s debt, transportation, the Export-Import Bank, and many others that Congress will address before the end of the year.
Index: Since the Supreme Court has rendered its decision on same sex marriage, please share your view of the decision and your opinion of how it will affect Georgia and your constituents.
Hice: Obviously, I am extremely disappointed in the Supreme Court decision in regards to Obergefell v. Hodges. I believe that marriage is an “inalienable institution” created by God, outside of the jurisdiction of government, and that since the beginning of time marriage has been defined as one man and one woman.
This decision is not reflective of what our nation’s many states wanted, and thereby bypassed the Constitution. This decision will have ramifications, which have yet to be fully realized in America, but the obvious observation is that state’s laws have been re-written by activist judges.
Index: How much in jeopardy is our religious liberty from your perspective? What do you see that places our religious liberty in jeopardy? What can be done to secure our religious freedom?
Hice: I see our religious liberty in major jeopardy in many different scenarios, like we have all seen, most especially with the recent Supreme Court ruling. I see that our schools have seemingly lost the fight on school prayer, and that business owners will have less choice in determining those with whom we do business. A couple bills I have co-sponsored to combat the loss of religious liberty include the First Amendment Protection Act and the Federal Marriage Amendment. I look forward to advancing these solutions and to having a partner in the White House who will not threaten to veto any bill that would defend our religious liberties.
Index: Is there any government or regime in the past that we seem to be replicating in the present?
Hice: I think we are living in a very unique time, and America tends to reinvent itself every hundred years or so. I think to compare us to another government or regime would be difficult, because I think that America, despite our many flaws, is the best nation in history.
Index: Now that you are a congressman, what do you believe to be our greatest source of hope for a bright future in America?
Hice: In my opinion, the greatest need in America is a spiritual awakening, which will happen when the church leads the way through prayer, repentance, and active involvement in society. I have two wonderful children, three grandchildren, and a fourth grandchild on the way. I can, without question, say that our children are one of the brightest hopes for America’s future.
… the greatest need in America is a spiritual awakening, which will happen when the church leads the way …
We have many gifted, intelligent, bright, and God-fearing children that can help to lift America out of the ashes of debt and disappointment and into a stage of American exceptionalism that surpasses anything we have seen.
Index: What do you think the future of your children and my grandchildren looks like if current trends continue?
Hice: In order for our children and grandchildren to have the future they deserve, we all have our work cut out for us. Obviously, we will never return to an American society prior to 9/11. My children and yours will never know what it’s like to grow up in America without TSA warnings or terror forecasts on the television. But our children can grow up in a safe and wholesome society, if we all collectively do our part to adhere to the teachings of the Bible and the Word of Jesus Christ.
Index: What can the people of Georgia do to help make your life as a congressman more successful or fulfilling?
Hice: I would never presume for our constituents to make my life easier, after having already blessed me with such an auspicious honor. However, my staff and I value our constituents’ feedback, as well as hearing about their concerns and ways we can help. That is the best part of serving in office.