September 18, 2012

President Obama: “My Commitment to Protecting Religious Liberty Is and Always Will Be Unwavering”

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SV0Gg40JsZQ]

The Obama campaign is reaching out to religious voters. Who doesn’t? The Catholic, mainline Protestant, and evangelical Protestant electoral power is quite a juicy prize for any politician. It’s good to see our current executive, like many national leaders in the various branches of the federal government, appreciates America’s religious heritage (note that “appreciate” is different from “submits to” or “follows”). The above video stands as the keystone of this latest campaign effort and testifies to the enduring influence that Christianity holds in American politics.

The whole video seemed to be a focused rejection of secularism. It was good to hear the President describe faith as “a powerful source of good in our communities and our families,” adding, “faith isn’t just a footnote in our nation’s story.” Barack Obama then credits his own Christian faith for guiding him in his presidency and in his life.

The President went on to warn that “faith is often used as a wedge in our politics.” He acknowledged that there will always be disagreements in a democracy; because of this, Americans need to “reaffirm the pluralism that has defined us as a nation.” With the disparate panoply of traditions on the religious landscape, one factor ties the United States together: “that for all our differences we are committed to looking out for one another and for the welfare of future generations.” In an attempt to smooth over past controversies, the current executive promised, “[I]n a changing world, my commitment to protecting religious liberty is and always will be unwavering…for all to speak their minds and follow their conscience…I’m standing on the side of human dignity.” According to the video, this concern for dignity evidently justifies the infamous bailout of automotive corporations.

At first blush, I like this speech. I’m glad the leader and spokesman of the United States appreciates faith, religion, and even Christianity in his own particular life. He speaks intelligently and, what is more important, he makes me feel smart as well. In fact, President Obama has a way of flattering the intelligence of his listeners. It’s what makes him more winsome than fear-mongering demagogues; perhaps this is an insight into the new face of political rhetoric.

So, is all sunshine and rainbows?

If I may quote from a better era, “I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck.” The President may well like the idea of religious liberty, but to what extent has he actually pursued it in the past four years? The State Department under Hillary Clinton has laid aside international religious liberty concerns in favor of pro-LGBT rights causes, dropping coverage of religious freedom from its annual Human Rights Report. This is not so much a condemnation for protecting LGBT folk from unjust persecution as much as it is about whether the Obama’s commitment can rightly be called “unwavering.”

More pertinently, the current administration attacked domestic  consciences with the Health and Human Services mandate for religious organizations to insure contraceptives and abortifacients. Is forcing religiously-affiliated hospitals, schools, and other institutions to trespass their faith’s social teaching an example of Mr. Obama’s “unwavering commitment?” Catholics and evangelicals may be especially skeptical of our current President’s promises.


6 Responses to President Obama: “My Commitment to Protecting Religious Liberty Is and Always Will Be Unwavering”

  1. Roger says:

    The President claims to be a Christian. Jesus said that you shall know them by their fruits. Therefore: Declaration must have Demonstration. Also see James; faith without works is dead.

  2. Jerry Rectenwald says:

    The President is simply not credible on this issue. That he is trying to sweet-talk his way to a few more votes with claims that do not comport with reality says volumes about what he thinks of the American electorate. I confess to being very weary of the ends-justify-the-means rhetoric that dominates our politics. I can only take so much insult to my intelligence, so much disingenuousness, so much torturing and twisting of facts. Gaining, wielding and keeping power is everything, and everything else is secondary. I am sick to the heart.

  3. BO and the Dem’s are so amazingly insulting to the American electorate, that I find myself regularly stunned that they actually have followers.

  4. Donnie says:

    How any Christian could vote for a Democrat after the DNC I’ll never know.

  5. Keith Albin says:

    Barack Obama has publicly endorsed same-sex marriage and tried to deceptively justify it by his Christian faith. He also stongly supports abortion and homosexuality all things which God hates. When asked what the greatest commandment was Jesus answered: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” I believe it is a truism that you cannot fulfill this commandment unless you love what God loves and hate what God hates. I also do not understand how any Christian could possibly justify voting for the Democratic ticket which is out of balance to the negative side with the teachings of Christ.

  6. Ben Welliver says:

    Obama gives himself away when he is speaking off-the-cuff. When he spoke to a liberal gathering about those poor benighted morons who “cling to guns and God,” he was letting his true feelings about Christianity show. Frankly, “clinging to God” might stand as a pretty good definition of “Christianity.” For a cynical Ivy League political hack like BO, any church is just a tool to gain some votes, so naturally he sniffs at those who take their faith seriously.

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