Obama’s War on Religious Freedom

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Senator Barack Obama gave voters the impression that he rejected the position of Democratic Party elders that moral principles are an imposition in the body politic. As he said in a 2004 speech:  “Secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square. . . .To say that men and women should not inject their ‘personal morality’ into public policy debates is a practical absurdity.  Our law is by definition a codification of morality, much of it grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition.”

Fast forward four years, and we now know that Obama not only conned us, but was dead set on secularizing every aspect of American life and waging war against religious liberty.

To get an overview of how bad he has been, read No Higher Power:  Obama’s War on Religious Freedom by Phyllis Schlafly, founder and president of Eagle Forum and George Neumayr of the American Spectator. This book describes how Obama enthusiastically embraced Saul Alinsky’s tactics to promote his ideological agenda and his political career.  A key Alinsky maxim he practiced, “garb your action in the language of morality.”

No Higher Power proves that Obama and his appointed subordinates have been imposing a secular agenda and have strived “to make government the national arbiter of morality, to subordinate religious freedom to government coercion.”  And while the most talked about attack on religious liberty has been the Department of Health and Human Service’s decree that Catholic institutions must “pay for contraceptives, sterilization, and abortion-inducing pills of their employees,” there have been plenty of other assaults that have not received much publicity.

Here are a few pickings from Schlafly and Neumayr’s “Index of Obama’s Hostility to Religion”:

  • Upon taking office in January 2009, Obama revoked Bush-era executive orders that prohibited U.S. tax dollars from being transferred to non-government agencies that perform abortions abroad.
  • The Obama Administration told the public in February 2011 that conscience protections for pro-life doctors and nurses who work at federally-funded hospitals that perform abortions would be eliminated.
  • Obama stopped the White House tradition of sponsoring an event on National Prayer Day.
  • Obama eliminated the District of Columbia school-voucher program.  A majority of those voucher’s were used at Catholic parochial schools.
  • The Obama Administration terminated funding for abstinence-only sex-education courses.
  • Obama’s Department of Homeland Security released a ridiculous report that argued pro-lifers could be a serious threat to National Security. Pro-lifers are potential terrorists because the DOHS views them as anti-government, right-wing extremists dedicated to a single issue. 
  • Obama approved a defense authorization bill in October 2009 that included “hate crimes” legislation. Senator James DeMint denounced the legislation insisting that “it amounted to ‘thought crime’ legislation armed at silencing Christians.” 
  • The Rev. Franklin Graham’s invitation to speak at the Pentagon’s National Day of Prayer in April 2010 was canceled because the leftist Military Religious Freedom Foundation falsely labeled him an Islamaphobe.  Graham – who told CNN the charge was nonsense and that, though he disagreed with some of the teaching, he did not bear any Muslims ill will – was publicly insulted by a Pentagon spokesman. Graham’s theological views on Islam, Colonel Tom Collins said, were “not appropriate. . . .We’re an all-inclusive military.  We honor all faiths. . . .Our message to our service and civilian workforce is about the need for diversity and appreciation of all faiths.”
  • When quoting the phrase in the Declaration of Independence, “All men are created equal. . .,” Obama has dropped the words “by their Creator.”
  • Obama, in February 2011, ordered the Justice Department to stop defending the federal Defense of Marriage in court cases. 
  • The Department of Veteran Affairs prohibited burial ceremonies at Houston National Cemetery from invoking the name of Jesus Christ.  After veterans protested, the ban was lifted. 
  • The Air Force canceled a Just War Theory course that had been taught for twenty years because some of the content examined Christian and Biblical thought.  A spokesmen said, “Senior leadership looked [at the material for the course] and said, no, we could do better than this.
  • The Walter Reid Medical Center ordered that “No religious items (i.e., Bibles, reading materials) are allowed to be given away or used [on] a visit.”  The regulation was dropped because of negative public reactions.
  • The Defense Department flouted the Federal Defense of Marriage Act in September 2011 by permitting same-sex marriage ceremonies on military installations.
  • The Air Force Academy terminated its participation in Operation Christmas Gift, a charity that distributes over 8 million shoebox gifts to poor kids in 100 countries. The reason: “An evangelical Christian message is also included in the boxes.”
  • The Department of Education announced in February 2012 that it “will no longer forgive student loans in exchange for public service if that service is related to religion.” 
  • The Air Force in February 2012 removed the word “God” from the Rapid Capabilities Office motto.  It is now “Doing Miracles with Other People’s Money,” not “Doing God’s Work with Other People’s Money.” 
  • The Army cautioned Catholic Chaplains not to distribute a letter from the Archbishop for the Military Services U.S.A., Timothy P. Broglio, because it criticized the Department of Health and Human Services contraception and abortion mandate on Catholic institutions. 
            These are just a few of the Obama Administration’s assaults on religious liberty. To learn more, pick up a copy of No Higher Power.

George J. Marlin, Chairman of the Board of Aid to the Church in Need USA, is the author of The American Catholic Voter and Sons of St. Patrick, written with Brad Miner. His most recent book is Mario Cuomo: The Myth and the Man.