Obama Commitment to Religious Freedom ‘Worrisome’

On religious freedom, Obama’s actions and statements just do not add up, and this is worrisome. Photo: "Holy Angels Catholic Church, Globe, Arizona," © Ken Lund used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license

WASHINGTON, September 28, 2012 — President Barack Obama issued a proclamation declaring January 16, 2012, Religious Freedom Day. In that document, Obama reaffirmed “that the American people will remain forever unshackled in matters of faith.” In his weekly address of Sept. 15, Obama stated, “We stand for religious freedom and we reject the denigration of any religion.”

Such clear statements make me worry about the state of our president’s mental health. Could it be that he has forgotten that currently over 30 lawsuits have been filed against his administration based on its policies violating religious freedom rights—including a suit filed by the Catholic Church, which represents over one in five of all Americans?

Is the president unaware that some organizations find his abortion politics so offensive and dangerous to religious freedom that they are campaigning to have him disinvited from a major Catholic charity event? Or that former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, a Baptist, told conservatives, “Thanks to President Obama, we are all Catholics now”?

You see, Obama’s signature piece of legislation—Obamacare—had the tacit backing of the Unites States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Reports allege that, for that support, the USCCB was assured that things like contraceptives, sterilization, and abortion—all direct violations of Church teaching—would not be included. But they were: In fact, population control is at the core of Obamacare.

It became painfully clear that Planned Parenthood had far more influence in the writing of Obamacare than the Catholic Church. The bishops had been duped, while the largest private abortion chain in the world stood to gain $250 million annually from a $1 billion abortion superfund hidden in section 1303 of Obamacare—enough to buy another two million abortions.

When the USCCB went public with its complaints, the “accommodation” the administration enacted actually expanded anti-life funding even further: Everyone would now pay for preventing and killing babies via insurance premiums. First Amendment religious freedom rights be damned.

The unelected Secretary Sebelius of HHS then imposed rules that redefined religious freedom to the point that, as Cardinal Wuerl explained, “HHS’s conception of what constitutes the practice of religion is so narrow that even Mother Teresa would not have qualified.”

To oversimplify (but barely), only churches themselves are exempt. Otherwise, you face potentially crippling tax penalties if you don’t comply. If you are a faith-based organization with over 50 employees that serves anyone other than your own religion, you are not considered protected under First Amendment religious freedom by this administration.

Nonprofit Catholic hospitals and colleges that serve non-Catholics are required to provide insurance that pays for contraceptives, sterilizations, and abortion-producing medicines or face penalties. Judge John J. Kane of Colorado, ruling in the Newland v. Sebelius Obamacare case, said the Obama administration’s stance amounted to an assertion that “a for-profit, secular employer … cannot engage in an exercise of religion.”

Now, in a brand new election campaign ad titled People of Faith, Obama states, “My commitment to protecting religious liberty is and always will be unwavering.” Simultaneously, his administration continues to argue in court that citizens forfeit their right to religious liberty as soon as they seek to earn a living by running a corporation.

So, perhaps you can understand why I am so concerned for Mr. Obama’s mental health. When it comes to what this president repeatedly says about protecting religious freedom in America versus what he repeatedly does, I worry that he may not be in control of his mental faculties.

I mean, what else could it be?

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Paul E. Rondeau

Paul E. Rondeau's research and writing on social issures has appeared in law journals, private publications, and  the popular press.  His work has been cited at the U.S. Supreme Court, United Nations and by best-selling authors.  He serves as executive director at American Life League.  He can be contacted at prondeau@all.org.


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