Obama, Sotomayor and religious freedom

Judges are supposed to be independent from the president who appointed them, but there's no daylight at all between Obama and his judicial appointees. Photo: Associated Press

SAN DIEGO, January 5, 2013 ― Although God can always be trusted, our constitutional freedom to worship this same God hangs in the balance. If a recent decision by Obama appointee Sonia Sotomayor is any indicator, our near future may see a First Amendment no longer worth the paper it’s printed on. 

Obama’s antipathy to our governing document was demonstrated before the election with his end runs around existing welfare and immigration laws. Any man willing to do this while running for re-election probably sees himself as unstoppable now.

Even when the separation of powers requires the Judicial branch to rule on one of Obama’s policies, the President’s guiding hand seems more omnipresent than that of God Himself. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor seems almost to be an Obama avatar in her approach to the new federal health care law. The law forces companies to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives, including the controversial morning-after pill which raises abortion related concerns with religious organizations.

Sotomayor refused to block the law in responce to a suit by Hobby Lobby Stores and their sister company, Mardel Inc., who recently sued the government, claiming the new law violates their religious freedom.

According to CSN News, “In September, the Greens, Hobby Lobby and Mardel bookstores sued Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and the departments of Health Human Service, Labor and Treasury. Their complaint said that the Obamacare contraception mandate violates their First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion because supporting abortion or counseling for abortion is contrary to their religious faith … On Nov. 11, U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton refused to grant a preliminary injunction to stop the mandate from being enforced on the Greens while the court decided their case on its merits … The Greens appealed their request for an injunction to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit. A panel of two appeals court judges refused their plea. They then appealed to Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who sits over that circuit, and she declined to reverse the lower courts and issue an injunction.” 

Ironically, in a previous case, Sotomayor ruled in favor of a Muslim inmate who was denied Ramadan meals, claiming that judges did not hold the “aptitude to pass upon the question of whether particular religious beliefs are wrong or right” (352 F.3d, 582 Ford v McGinnis, December 2003).

Some might argue that President Obama is not responsible for the decisions of a judge he appointed, but anyone who thinks our president is bypassing liberal justices in favor of strict constructionists has not been paying attention. Even before her appointment to the Supreme Court, Sotomayor had demonstrated her “objectivity” in a 2001 law school speech at Cal-Berkeley, where she said, “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

If that statement bears any resemblance to an honest approach toward the Constitution, our Founding Fathers once wrote a love letter to King George. But we should not be surprised to see such similarity between Obama’s appointed judges and current White House policy. Indeed, one wonders if Sotomayor’s well known record of preferential treatment of a Muslim prisoner was part of her appeal when she was selected by the same administration that apologized to the Muslim world for an offensive video after Muslim mobs attacked our embassies, then went an extra mile by locking up the director and denying his First Amendment freedom.

None of these observations are a cue for conspiracy theories about Obama being a secret Muslim. For him, the matter seems far simpler: It is Politically Correct to be tolerant of a religion that spawns anti-American terrorists and politically inconvenient to protect a different religion which challenges “affordable health care for all.” Any genuine religious conviction from our president would have to be observed elsewhere, perhaps in his own mirror where he undoubtedly bows each morning to the one deity he can worship with unbridled enthusiasm.

But beware, Mr. President, someday when history has passed away and all of us find ourselves before the judgment seat of the real God, you will give an account for every word, every action, and every policy. Candy Crowley will not be standing next to you to bail you out.


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Bob Siegel

A graduate of Denver Seminary and San Jose State University, Bob Siegel is a radio talk show host and popular guest speaker at churches and college campuses across the country, using a variety of media including, seminars, formal debates, outdoor open forums, and one man drama presentations.

In addition to his own weekly radio show (KCBQ 1170, San Diego) Bob has been a guest on many other programs, including The 700 Club, Washington Times Radio's Inside the Story, The Rick Amato Show, KUSI Television's Good Morning San Diego, and the world popular Jonathan Park radio drama series, for which Bob guest starred in two episodes and wrote one episode, The Clue From Ninevah.

Bob is a regular contributor for San Diego Newsroom and San Diego Rostra. Bob does a good deal of playwriting as well (14 plays & 5 collaborations), including the award winning, Eternal Reach.  Bob has also published two books;  A Call To Radical Discipleship, and I'd Like to Believe In Jesus, But...

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