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Joyce: Faith leaders important to security

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. John Joyce, R-13th District, participated in the White House’s Faith-Based Community Safety and Security Symposium on Wednesday.

Alongside Vice President Mike Pence and U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Assistant Director Brian Harrell, Joyce discussed the importance of the nation’s faith leaders in shared fight against terrorism.

Joyce called the opportunity “one of the high points of my brief time in Congress.”

“Unfortunately, in my district, we understand all too well that no community is immune from the threat of terrorism,” Joyce said.

He cited the 9/11 attacks, which struck nearby Shanks­ville, and the mass murder at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh last year.

“As Americans, we understand that all of us have inalienable rights — including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — that are endowed by our creator. And, as Americans, we understand that the U.S. Constitution protects our right to freely practice the religion of our choice,” he said. “This freedom is a core tenet of our American democracy. No person should be targeted for their beliefs. Such violence toward any human being is inherently wrong.”

Joyce praised leaders for organizing the forum, designed to heighten awareness and discuss best safety practices.

“It is important that the administration is bringing the needed attention to the role of faith-based community leaders in our shared goal of protecting the American people,” he said. “As we pray together for peace in our nation and throughout the world, I also pray for you and continued safety in our churches, synagogues and all places of worship.

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