Yesterday was National Religious Freedom Day. President Obama signed a proclamation and made a speech. And, that probably satisfied those who haven’t been paying attention.
It’s ironic that this president would talk about freedom of religion when his signature legislation deeply impacts the religious liberties of so many through ObamaCare’s mandate that all employers regardless of religious objection pay for insurance that covers abortions and contraception.
I believe in the use of contraception, but I oppose abortion. I think my freedom of religion is being infringed by being forced to pay for insurance that covers that. Millions of Americans feel the same way. We’re being forced to participate in the wholesale murder of children. That feels a lot like tyranny to me.
So Obama signing a proclamation doesn’t really impress me much. I wonder how he defines “religious freedom”. How can he coldly insist that this is not a violation of our right to freedom of conscience? And there is the answer in the very first paragraph.
“Foremost among the rights Americans hold sacred is the freedom to worship as we choose,” Obama began in his statement. “Because of the protections guaranteed by our Constitution, each of us has the right to practice our faith openly and as we choose. As a free country, our story has been shaped by every language and enriched by every culture.”
No other president has defined the First Amendment so narrowly. Religion encompasses a whole range of beliefs and practices – from our faith in God, to the way we vote, to a belief in the sanctity of life, to the way we dress. Worship, however, addresses only what we do within the four walls of our churches. Did our Founders mean that we had a right to gather to pray, sing songs and listen to preaching in a cloistered community or were they recognizing a right to freedom of expression and assembly and entry into the marketplace of ideas? Does our president recognize a difference.
While President Obama’s proclamation extols the ‘freedom of worship,’ his administration has the worst record protecting religious liberty in American history. No other president has ever required Christians to pay for the slaughter of innocents.