Jonathan Imbody at the Washington Times writes about Obama’s assault on religious freedom, with his substitute concept of “freedom of worship.” Why should we worry when the President proclaims on “Religious Freedom Day” our precious freedom of worship?
The First Amendment of our Constitution actually reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The constitutionally guaranteed free exercise of religion in America extends well beyond the freedom to worship. It includes the freedom to live out our conscientiously held beliefs.
Worship at its core is essentially a private and personal process, a communion between God and an individual. No government could restrict such worship, any more than it could monitor and censor every citizen’s thoughts and prayers. Even forbidding individuals to worship together in public, which coercive communist governments like China’s have done, cannot actually prevent individuals from worshiping God in private. So a law that merely protected the freedom to worship would hardly be worth heralding in a presidential proclamation.
Talk is one thing–what about action? What has this administration actually done to assault religious freedom? According to Imbody,
The Obama administration has taken several actions to restrict or outright violate religious liberty. They have gutted the only federal conscience regulation protecting the conscience rights of American health care professionals.
This didn’t make the headlines, did it? We are more familiar with the next issue:
Officials issued a coercive contraception and sterilization mandate that imposes the president’s abortion ideology on all employers, exempting virtually only places of worship. The thousands of faith-based charities that actually exercise their faith and conscience beyond the four walls of their churches now face millions of dollars in fines by the Obama administration.
In arguing against the multitude of lawsuits against the HHS mandate, the DOJ, as the administration’s lawyers, have argued that Americans lose their religious freedom when they enter secular business. Also,
The administration has argued before the Supreme Court in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC against a religious institution in an attempt to restrict faith-based organizations’ hiring rights. In a unanimous decision, even Mr. Obama’s own appointees to the court rejected the administration’s radical arguments to restrict religious liberty.
Finally, this administration has failed to defend religious freedom abroad.
The Obama administration failed for months to aggressively advocate on behalf of Pastor Saeed Abedini, an American citizen imprisoned, tortured and now on trial, facing possible execution by the Iranian government, for simply living out and speaking about his Christian faith.
The most serious threat to religious freedom in America is our own government.