WASHINGTON, June 23, 2013 ― President Obama made impromptu remarks, and once again, the White House is in damage control mode. Obama’s controversial remarks in Belfast about segregation of Catholics and Protestants received a lot of attention last week:
“If towns remain divided — if Catholics have their schools and buildings and Protestants have theirs, if we can’t see ourselves in one another and fear or resentment are allowed to harden — that too encourages division and discourages cooperation,” Obama said, according to the Scottish Catholic Observer.
President Obama’s remarks stunned his Belfast audience, as well as observers from around the world. His remarks were especially remarkable given that he has not addressed Muslim dogma and Sharia law with its rigid positions of superiority and exclusivity. His call for an end to separate Protestant and Catholic educational institutions does not generate widespread public approval.
Obama’s comments would have caused less consternation if he’d been looking in his own American back yard and made a conscious effort to mend the divisions he and his administration have caused. The Obama administration has taken actions that have marginalized Christian and Jewish organizations: forcing Catholic institutions to provide the means to obtain contraceptive and abortion services; excluding mosques and Muslim organizations from the wide net of domestic surveillance cast by intelligence agencies; identifying evangelical Christians as a domestic terror threat; subjecting some Christian organizations for special IRS scrutiny; an unprecedented assault on the religious freedom of Christians within the U.S. military which restricts open expression of faith.
It is not the president’s place to lecture another nation on religious liberty and religious divisions within its borders. The best thing that he can do for religious liberty and peaceful relations between faiths in the rest of the world is to set an example in the United States. Remember the words of Jesus, whom the President claims as his Lord and Savior: “Judge not and ye shall not be judged. For with what measure you judge others, it shall be measured against you.” (Matthew 7: 1,2)
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