The secret conspiracy plotting against religious freedom gets wider

Charles Colson, Dr. James C. Dobson and now Rick Warren have warned us that a sneaky conspiracy of dangerous liberals are threatening “freedom of religion” by calling it, instead, “freedom of worship.”

These devious liberals are so sneaky about this that most of the time they say “freedom of religion,” but they also occasionally mix in that terrifying, anti-Christian, un-American phrase “freedom of worship.” And that can only mean that they want to abolish the freedom of religion.

Obviously.

President Obama has been especially crafty. He’s spoken forcefully in praise or defense of the “freedom of religion” on dozens of occasions — just to get Christians to let down their guard. But he’s also shown his true colors several times by uttering that evil phrase “freedom of worship.”

And he’s not alone. Many others are in on it with him, recklessly jeopardizing our precious freedom of religion by sometimes speaking instead of that outrageous sham, the “freedom of worship.”

Here are just a few of Obama’s fellow-travelers:

Dr. James C. Dobson: “This great representative form of government, which was given to us by the Founding Fathers, is the source of our freedom to worship as we choose.” And: “The beautiful thing, Larry, about the Judeo-Christian system of values is that it provides freedom. Freedom to worship however you want to or freedom not to worship at all.”

Rep. Ron Paul: “In this critical election you and I must decide if the principles of limited government and personal freedom, including the freedom to worship as we want, are worth fighting for once again.”

President George W. Bush: “That’s the great thing about America, is the right to worship the way you see fit.” And: “My prayer is that all persecution will end, so that all in China are free to gather and worship as they wish.”

President Ronald Reagan: “Our forbearers came not for gold, but mainly in search of God and the freedom to worship in their own way.” And: “Religious intolerance, particularly in the Soviet Union, continues to deprive millions of the freedom to worship as they choose.”

President George Washington: “The liberty enjoyed by the people of these states of worshiping Almighty God agreeably to their conscience, is not only among the choicest of their blessings, but also of their rights.”

Supreme Court Justice Frank Murphy: “But there is before us the right of freedom to believe, freedom to worship one’s Maker according to the dictates of one’s conscience, a right which the Constitution specifically shelters.”

The Texas Constitution: “Article I, Sec. 6. FREEDOM OF WORSHIP. …”

The Tennessee Constitution: “Article I, § 3. Freedom of worship …”

These officials and documents employ this phrase in just the same casual way as President Obama uses it — treating it almost as though it were some kind of synonym for freedom of religion, as though it were just another way of saying the same thing in different words.

But as Colson, Dobson and Warren have assured us, this fraudulent freedom of worship is nothing at all like the freedom of religion. And that can only mean that Washington, Reagan, Bush, Paul, Murphy and the states of Texas and Tennessee are all part of Obama’s diabolical war on religion.

  • PollyAmory

    I recommend reading this post with Nick Cave playing in the background. It enhances the feeling of batshit instanity and adds a delightful whiff of paranoia. 

  • LouisDoench

    One of the reason’s I’m an Atheist is I can’t bring myself to “worship” a higher power.  Liz Phair…sure… but not a higher power. One common thread amongst these particular assholes is they leave off the part we have heard the Prez point out before, that religious freedom equals the right to NOT worship as we please as well. I get the feeling James Dobson doesn’t agree with that sentiment.

  • LouisDoench

     OK, I will admit that there is the possibility the Liz Phair IS a higher power… or maybe Regina Spektor.

  • Tonio

    The most charitable interpretation of Dobson’s and Colson’s tortured language is that they see “freedom of religion” as a societal concept, a freedom to live in a “Christian” society. They may have bought into the 19th-century revisionism about the Pilgrims, who really wanted a society based on their religion, and who made it a jailable offense to criticize their ministers.

    Or they may simply want to protect their majority privilege. Fred notes that they’re defining religion in tribalistic terms, but more broadly, they’re blurring the distinctions between religiosity, nationality, ethnic identity, cultural identity. If one is focused on protecting majority privilege, of course one is going to regard heterogeneity of any sort in a society as anathema.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jon.maki Jon Maki

    The key thing to remember is that it isn’t the words that matter, it’s who says them.
    If Reagan and company say them?  Perfectly fine.
    But when the Kenyan secularmuslimmatheistcommienaziliberalfascistantichrist says them, they take on a sinister meaning that just isn’t there when they’re spoken by good people.

  • TheDarkArtist

    What I particularly like about the Freedom of Religion/Worship brouhaha is the fact that, on a fairly regular basis, the response from Christians to the question “why should I believe that Christianity is the correct religion?” is something along the lines of “Christianity isn’t about religion it’s about a Personal Relationship with Jesus Christ.”

    Of course, that also makes me laugh, because it sure seems like the “personal relationship with Jesus” that they have consists mainly of Jesus telling them that they’re totally cool and it’s everyone else who’s wrong. I usually strongly disagree with, and I’m rather offended by, the idea that “God is an imaginary friend for adults”, but in this case it seems to be true.

    Hell, religion provides not just an imaginary friend for some of these people, but an entire imaginary world.

  • Tonio

    What you describe is very much a tribalist notion, but in a membership sense. As an analogy, it’s impossible for someone who isn’t black to use the N-word ironically, and the same is true for any slurs against minorities. The people we’re talking about do perceive Obama as a bad person because of his father’s origins, but more precisely, they perceive him as an outsider.

  • VMink

    *squints to make out all the words in ‘secularmuslimmatheistcommienaziliberalfascistantichrist’*

    “Matheist?”  There’s something very cool buried in that word.  I’ll have to think on that.

    (I’m not poking fun at you, actually!  I know it was probably a typo but the word ‘matheist’ has some intriguing connotations. =) )

  • Tonio

     Pronounce it with a short A and it suggests this scripture: “In the beginning there was 2+2=4…Thou shalt not divide by zero…”

  • MaryKaye

    Tonio, have you read Knuth’s _Surreal Numbers_?  It takes that idea and runs with it, and has some really fun number theory.  Recreational math at its finest.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jon.maki Jon Maki

     It was indeed a typo, resulting from my last-second change from “islamoatheist[...].”  Ah well.

  • CoolHandLNC

    Wherever did we get the idea that God wants or needs to be worshiped? When did Jesus say “worship me”? When he told the disciples that he would send the Holy Spirit, did he add “and you will worship the Holy Spirit with me an my Father”? The whole concept was basically to flatter the gods and kiss up to them so they will grant you favors, or at least not kill you. It must have seemed the right thing to do because it usually worked with human despots who claimed to rule with divine authority.

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

     Recreational math at its finest.

    Words I never thought I’d see together, Part 4,654.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Never heard of math club?

  • histrogeek

    So they got Dobson too. Finally comrades we’re making progress. BWHAHAHAHAH!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jon.maki Jon Maki

     My boss does math when she’s bored.

  • http://www.crochetgeek.net/ Jake

     No, in the beginning there was p ⊃ q ▪ = ▪ ~ p V q. 1+1=2 doesn’t even show up until Chapter 54, Verse 43.

  • Ken

    the Prez point out before, that religious freedom equals the right to NOT worship as we please as well. I get the feeling James Dobson doesn’t agree with that sentiment.

    I’m pretty sure he does agree with it, in that he would object to being forced to worship in a mosque, or a pagan fire circle, or a Buddhist temple; or bow before Kali, or Ameratsu, or Degba Loa; or participate in any of the thousands of other non-Christian forms of worship.  For all I know, he also has problems with many Christian forms; I know a few Protestants who use the phrase “Catholic idolatry” in absolute seriousness, and the Catholic Encyclopedia lists Protestantism among the forms of heresy.

    It’s a lot like that other comparison: Dobson’s practically an atheist, since there’s thousands of gods he doesn’t believe in. The atheists just disbelieve in one more.

  • John__K

     Actually, I think Dobson would agree with that sentiment, only to protect himself against being made to worship a non-Christian deity.

  • fraser

    Interestingly, some years back a right-wing prayer-in-school activist made the opposite argument: Freedom of religion only applies to freedom to believe and not freedom of worship. Therefore, mandating kids pray in schools is fine as long as we don’t force them to believe it.
    In line with comments above, I’m sure he’d have been horrified if the “wrong” religion was in a position to make kids perform the “wrong” prayers.

  • Supsupersayian2

    Um, im pretty dim. And google and wikipedia have abandonded me in my hour of need. So, can someone here explain the difference between freedom wof worship and freedom of religion? It all sounds the same.

  • Tybult

    But as Colson, Dobson and Warren have assured us, this fraudulent freedom of worship is nothing at all like the freedom of religion.

    God damn it, I just woke up and already I’ve been smacked in the face by the stupidest idea I’ll encounter all day.

  • LL

    I guess that’s how you know you’re not a Republican. Or at least not a stupid one. If you can’t tell the difference. Because there isn’t a difference. Just some made-up bullshit by a bunch of people who are trying to manufacture oppression where none exists. 

  • Lori

    Um, im pretty dim. And google and wikipedia have abandonded me in my hour of need. So, can someone here explain the difference between freedom wof worship and freedom of religion? It all sounds the same.

    You’re not dim. There’s really no practical difference. This is just another one of those times where some people play up a distinction without a difference in order to create an in group-out group marker/rallying point*.

    The whole thing is supremely stupid and if the US wasn’t in the grip of assholes no one would have paid any attention to it.

    *It’s in the same class of things as the idiotic “Democrat party” meme.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    “So, can someone here explain the difference between freedom wof worship and freedom of religion?”

    While they didn’t use the phrase “freedom of worship” to describe the alleged shift, Cardinal Dolan and the bishops are trying to argue that making schools and hospitals follow the law somehow means relegating religious activity to churches and thereby narrowing and weakening “freedom of religion.” It’s marginally more coherent than what Dobson and Colson are saying (at least they have an example!), but just as disingenous.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     

    I just woke up and already I’ve been smacked in the face by the stupidest idea I’ll encounter all day.

    I admire your optimism.

  • Mike Timonin

    I’m going to struggle into my James Dobson mask here, and attempt an answer. 

    Freedom of worship covers everything that happens inside the religious community. FoW suggests that the government has no power to dictate how you worship your deity when you are worshiping your deity –  ie: communal wine was exempt from Prohibition. Freedom of religion covers the way that you express your religion when you are not inside the religious community. FoR suggests that the government has no power to dictate how you express your religious identity to people who are not your co-religionists – ie: prohibiting the wearing of Islamic head scarves in school.

    Removing my James Dobson mask, I suppose it’s possible to see FoW as subordinate to FoR (in that you can’t claim to have FoR unless you have FoW). The problem, as far as I can see, is that people like Dobson et al have no problem with restricting the right of female Muslim students to wear head scarves, but God help us if someone suggests that Dobson et al not be allowed to protest outside of a Planned Parenthood or pass tracts outside of Whole Foods.

  • Dan Audy

    That is a really good description of the way that they are trying to portray the two terms as being different.  The problem however is that no one else is playing semantic games when they use them and treat them interchangeably as synonyms.

  • Tricksterson

    I accepted Jim Henson as my personal savior long ago.

  • Tricksterson

    I would say that it’s the belief that mathematics rules the universe.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Put short, to them, “Freedom of worship” means the freedom to practice any religion you like by practicing your religion. “Freedom of religion”, to them, means “I can ignore whatever secular laws I like if my motives can be framed as religious.”

  • Tricksterson

    Which means I actualy agree with Dobson about something since I don’t believe he should be forced to worship any of those divinities either.  On the other hand I somehow suspect that we part company at the point where I don’t believe I, or anyone else should be forced to worship his deity.

  • Tricksterson

    I was going to ask the same thing.  As far a I can tell noone who’s saying that there is a difference has given an actual defintion of the difference, at least not a coherent one.  Then again coherence doesn’t seem to be their strong suit.

  • Anonymous-Sam

     “I am that is, I am matheist!”

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    “Mathiest”? Someone who doesn’t believe in math? That’s even more delusional than creationism, but I can sympathize. Quadratic equations made me give up school entirely. 

  • Myrkin

    A fan of Redwall? :)

  • christopher_young

    You do not talk about math club.


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