2013 Favs: President Obama, Religious Liberty and Lying in Plain Sight

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I’m close to a breaking point vis a vis our President and his deliberate disingenuous obfuscations about the first amendment in general and religious freedom, in particular. I need to take a deep breath.

So, this will be brief.

President Obama’s statement on the Supreme Court’s decision yesterday contained this paragraph:

On an issue as sensitive as this, knowing that Americans hold a wide range of views based on deeply held beliefs, maintaining our nation’s commitment to religious freedom is also vital.  How religious institutions define and consecrate marriage has always been up to those institutions.  Nothing about this decision – which applies only to civil marriages – changes that.  

Read that carefully. Read it three times. What is says is consistent with the drive to push religious freedom into the churches and our homes; behind closed doors, in other words, and limit it to that. It is entirely consistent with the actions this administration has taken up to now to limit the First Amendment guarantee of the Constitutional right to free exercise of religion to the institutional church, and for them only behind church doors.

He says nothing about the right to religious freedom of individual citizens or small businesses or religious groups that range from the Knights of Columbus to campus social organizations. This is in keeping with his consistent use of the phrase “freedom of worship” when he speaks of the First Amendment.

I think he’s being coy. I don’t think “Freedom of Worship” is just a pretty phrase which he uses as a synonym for religious freedom. I think he means it literally. The First Amendment, according to President Obama, seems to mean the freedom to worship in a church. Period. I think the reason why is because President Obama intends to use the power of his office to limit religious freedom for individuals and groups.

His administration has already argued that religious exemptions should only apply to ministerial staff — which is a much higher bar than just saying they only apply to the institutional church — in more than one court case.  It seems that religion, according to Obama, is a private activity that should be conducted behind closed doors.

Oddly enough, that isn’t what made me so angry. It’s the deliberate, disingenuous obfuscation. To put a different word on it, I think he’s lying, in plain sight.

I published a list of attacks on religious liberty from the USCCB here.

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Cardinal George, the HHS Mandate and Prayer

 

I just can’t face writing about Christian persecution today, even though that’s my usual Friday practice. I’m going to delay it until tomorrow.

I want to talk about Cardinal George, instead.

Cardinal George’s cancer recurred late last summer. I read in February of this year that he had been given a clean bill of health and was cancer-free.

I have no idea why, but just out of the blue I’ve been getting this impulse to pray for him. It’s like a soft little dinging in the back of my mind.

I don’t know if it has anything to do with his health. All I can say is that I almost never think about Cardinal George. Because it’s so odd for me to suddenly feel that I should pray for him, I am assuming that for reasons I don’t know and may never know, he probably needs a little extra prayer.

I’m passing this along to the rest of you so that you can join me in saying a Hail Mary for the Cardinal now and again.

In the video below, he is discussing the HHS Mandate.

At one point he talks about the “definition” being so narrow. I believe that he is referring to the definition of religious institutions as it is used in the HHS Mandate, and not the First Amendment. Among other things, the Obama administration has been trying to narrow the meaning of “religious freedom” to only include the freedom to attend services in “places of worship” and behind the closed doors of our homes.

This should be anathema to any freedom-loving American, irrespective of their religious beliefs or lack of belief.

Here is Cardinal George:

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Conscience Rights and the Obama Administration

The USCCB released a new video today discussing the war on the right of conscience in America.

I think it’s a powerful video that expresses the issues far better than anything I could say. All Americans should be upset about what the Obama administration is doing to our First Amendment liberties.

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