.- A Republican congressman asked Monday for unanimous consent of the House to withdraw his statement, accusing Democrats of “denigrating and demonizing Christians.”
The House was debating the Democratic amendment to the annual defense appropriations bill. The amendment would have required the Air Force Academy to develop a plan for preventing "coercive and abusive religious proselytizing."
The Washington Post reported that Rep. John N. Hostettler (R—Ind.) spoke against the amendment, stating that "the long war on Christianity in America continues today on the floor of the House of Representatives." He said it "continues unabated with aid and comfort to those who would eradicate any vestige of our Christian heritage being supplied by the usual suspects, the Democrats.
"Like a moth to a flame, Democrats can't help themselves when it comes to denigrating and demonizing Christians," he said.
Hostettler’s statement led Rep. David R. Obey (D—Wis.) to request that Hostettler’s “words be taken down.” If a member's words are taken down, it is considered a serious offense and the lawmaker would not be able to speak for the rest of the day.
The Post reported that Hostettler eventually rose after 45 minutes of back-and-forth in the House and read a sentence that had been written out for him by a young Republican floor aide: "Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent to withdraw the last sentence I spoke."
The Democratic amendment was later defeated, 210 to 198. On a voice vote the Air Force was required to say how it is promoting religious tolerance before the appropriations bill passed, 398 to 19.