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Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo. told a gathering of religious conservatives on Friday that believers need a “baptism of courage” as they face new pressures from the Left.

“I just want to say to you that it is my firm belief that in this hour, in this time of trial, for our country and for us as believers, what we need above all as believers is to give us courage. Baptism is required,” Hawley said at the Prayer Vote Stand Summit in Leesburg, Va.

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“And we also need the baptism of hope because it is hope that gives us courage.”

The gathering of religious conservatives included speakers lamenting the Justice Department’s recent efforts to investigate bullying at school boards. It earned the ire of Republican Glenn Youngkin, who also spoke at Friday’s event and raised the issue in Virginia’s gubernatorial race.

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Meanwhile, Hawley has sent a letter to the attorney general, expressing concern that the DOJ will placate parental free speech with its new investigation.

“Not on my watch and not without a fight,” Hawley said at Friday’s event. “I’m not going to stand up. As long as this administration uses the federal government against us, I will not stand idly by. As long as they trample on our First Amendment rights, I will not stand.”

The DOJ recently announced that it would coordinate a nationwide investigation after the National School Board Association (NSBA) suggested teachers face domestic terrorism. In it, the NSBA cited several instances of alleged violence or intimidation.

garlands memorandum He did not use the term “domestic terrorist” and clarified that “spirited debate” was not the target of his investigation. Nonetheless, Hawley has expressed concerns about the NSBA letter, which invoked the Patriot Act, and the potential for redundancies.

The Missouri senator also asked attendees to pray every day for the Supreme Court until December 1, when it is scheduled to hear oral arguments in Dobbs v. Mississippi. Hawley described the case as the most important pro-life case in a generation and hoped that the Court would reverse Roe v. Wade.

“It’s definitely the worst decision of this century,” he said of Roe. One of the worst decisions in the history of our country. It ranks right there with Dred Scott, who increased slavery across the country and required a civil war to destroy it.”