November 7, 2012

Now Is the Time to Value Faith

Faith

(Photo credit: Ehow.com)

By Addie Darling

In the days leading up to yesterday’s election, both President Obama and Governor Romney made last-minute appeals to the public based on common values and national well-being. This past Saturday, President Obama presented a new ad  about his faith values.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6msJWsmvTo&w=460&h=315]

However, while President Obama may have been leading with his values for the past four years, his actions have threatened to undermine the ability for faith to be expressed publicly. This ought to concern not only the Christians who have been directly impacted by some of the President’s policies. They have affected Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, Hindus, as well as those of no faith at all.

For nearly a year now, the public has been constantly hounded about the threats of Obama’s War on Religion and the sweeping repression of the conservative War on Women, both of which suggest a total oppression of a specific population. Underneath the hype and the spin lies a handful of facts. Firstly, some business owners, hospitals, and charities believe that as an integral part of their beliefs, they cannot dispense certain (or all) contraceptives and potential abortifacients. Secondly, a mandate by the Department of Health and Human Services requires nearly all employers- including religious individuals who own small businesses and religious hospitals and charities- to directly cover and pay for their employee’s contraceptives and some early potential abortifacients.

One fact, however, was not discussed at length. There are a number of other options for providing women universal access to contraception that do not require government coercion of conscientious objectors.  And  though the religious freedom debate has raged for over 10 months, those options have not been explored.

In short, President Obama has been responsible for a policy that oppresses a minority religious opinion. Furthermore, the inability to accommodate the free exercise of religion turns religious business-owners and non-profit leaders into second-class citizens.

This unsettling attitude towards these individuals – particularly Catholics – will not immediately result in widespread oppression of all persons of faith. It is, however, a step backwards for freedom of belief and expression for everyone.

The refusal to make accommodations for integral matters of faith strengthens laws, such as one in Alabama, that limit services religious institutions can provide to undocumented workers. Such an attitude weakens the case against “Anti- Shariah” laws that were passed in certain states last year. If Catholics can be treated as second-class citizens under the law, then how can the nation condemn discrimination against Muslims, a prison’s refusal to supply kosher and halal meals to inmates or prohibitions against observant Sikhs and Muslims expressing their beliefs through their choice of dress?

Only the President can affirm or deny to what extent his personal faith forms his politics. I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, even in areas where his view of the faith diverges from traditional Christian values. But faith without works is dead, and the President must stop his sidelining of Catholics and other Christians, lest these actions undermine freedom of consicnece for all Americans.


  • Shiphrah

    He murders babies. He lies outrageously, particularly when he knows that the media will cover for him. He abandons troops in the field. He is driving this nation’s economy into the dirt, and is too prideful to get help, or change direction, or is truly evil in his intentions. He does not defend the constitution which was his sworn duty before God on the Lincoln Bible.

    There really is no reason what so ever, to give him the benefit of the doubt.

    • Donnie

      Amen! Obama is the living embodiment of Matt 7:15

  • http://contextintn.wordpress.com/ dover1952

    “But faith without works is dead, and the President must stop his sidelining of Christians and Catholics, lest these actions undermine the expression of all beliefs and all Americans.”

    Please excuse me, but I think your intern Freudian slips are showing. It is clear from your language that you do not consider Catholics to be Christians because you list them as separate categories. If Obama were not abusing Catholics, and you were not using them as a convenient tool right now to advance your sectarian agenda, I feel sure that many among your ranks would be most interested to step in and fill the open job of “Catholic Baiter” like so many in your ranks have done for the past several centuries.

    I would also like to point out that the coming right wingnut religious war on contraception will quite likely do in your entire cause. Most protestants I know like contraception and do not agree that it is sinful. Moreover, many think it very strange that religious people who have traditionally hated Catholics are finding ways to become more like them.

    However, I have news for you—so listen up—especially in light of last night’s election and the new demographics of the 21st century. Most American whites think 0, 1, or 2 children are quite enough. I know beautiful white women (Victorias secret model looks) who are quite capable of having children, but they have decided that they will have zero children. Those who have made that decision and are married are approaching menopause now—and the vow has been kept.

    Opposition to abortion paired with adoption centers and making raped white women have babies are not going to increase the white population in any meaningful way. All of the demographic statistics point clearly towards the erasure of the “white man” as a type of person (physically) over the course of just this century here in the United States. In fact, just the other day, I was thinking about Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge,Tennessee, and how much fun it might be to open a new tourist attraction called the Museum of the Extinct White Man. Just think about it folks. About 50 -100 years from now (not long really), every newspaper photograph of Americans at a Fourth of July picnic will show nothing but dark, olive, red. or yellowish looking people–or some intermediate shade—mostly with black eyes and black hair. This is a pattern of change that is inevitable, and it makes sense. In the context of the world as a whole, white people have always been the “odd man out” biologically. I say that having taken numerous courses in biological anthropology.

    So here is the bottom line IRD intern folks. If you have dreams of an American future with gazillions of nice little all-white nuclear families, with 5 children each in tow, dressed up in their best-pressed 1950s conservative clothing, and marching dutifully every Sunday morning down to a little white-painted church for an all Bible-believing (whatever that is) Sunday school and service, you are barking up the wrong tree. It ain’t going to happen. Everything is changing…everything has changed. Here. I think Lord Cornwallis says it best. Start watching the video at minute 1:16

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvGAE1JcGV4

    The election last night was the second installment of an American future that is rushing headlong like a tidal wave towards you—and there is nothing you will ever be able to do about it. Resistance is futile.

    I like that phrase because I have heard it repeated over again so many times by Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals. I ask them, “What would it mean if evolution turned out to be true.” The response:

    THEN ALL IS LOST

  • http://contextintn.wordpress.com/ dover1952

    1) He murders babies? The President has no governmental power to stop all abortions. Do you think a right wingnut Republican will? It has not happened yet, and it will not happen. Republicans need abortion to be cheap and legal so they can use it as an issue to fire up the religious rhubarbs every 2 or 4 election years. You should know that by now. It is as plain as the nose on your face. Abortion will be legal for decades to come—but not because you or I want it to be—but rather because of its political utility to the Republican Party that let you down so badly last night. They do not care about abortion. It is as meaningless as a cup of coffee to them. If you people want to end abortion, you need to find a better strategy than the political one that has failed so badly for decades.

    2) He abandons troops in the field? If you mean he is ending a war and bringing the troops home. Yes, when a group of 300 soldiers gets on a plane in Afghanistan to fly home, the military baggage handlers are indeed abandoned on the tarmac—but only so they can get the next 300 soldiers ready to leave.

    3) He is driving this nation’s economy into the dirt, and is too prideful to get help? The economy is improving. Conservative Republicans state over and over again that no President or politician has the power to improve an economy. All economies must fix themselves in their own time. I take the end of your statement as a racist remark. Why doesn’t the black man see that he is in too deep and get the right kind of white men to pull him out of the hole. No thanks. I think my black President is smarter than most white people I have ever known, including me, and I had an overall 3.91 GPA in college and a 3.96 GPA in graduate school—do research work for a living—and get paid a small fortune for doing it.

    4) Truly evil in his intentions? The man is a protestant Christian for crying out loud!!! This may come as a surprise to you, but not all Christians subscribe to what you call “right doctrines.” They are only called “right” because you or your rhubarb preacher think they are. Millions upon millions of Christians worldwide think your beliefs are just as false, skewed, and screwed up as you think Obama’s are—especially that Schofield Reference Bible garbage that was man-created in the 1800s. It is a matter of personal opinion about what the Bible says and what the church believes. That is why they call it faith. Otherwise, we would call it the “Christian Empirical Fact” rather than the “Christian Faith.”

    5) He does not defend the constitution, which was his sworn duty before God on the Lincoln Bible. Specifically, I think he is defending the rights of non-Catholics, protestants, and unbelievers who do not want their personal medical behaviors dictated to them by their Catholic Church employer. They have rights that need defending too—but this is ultimately an issue for the courts to decide. Lincoln Bible? Give me a break. My Bible here at home is just as good.

    6) There really is no reason whatsoever, to give him the benefit of the doubt? A majority of Americans in both the popular vote and the electoral college tallies think you are dead wrong, and you are going to have to live with it—unless maybe you would like to immigrate to another nation where the religious beliefs are more like your own in a number of key respects—say Iran maybe?