UPDATED - Obama Moves away from 'Freedom of Religion' toward 'Freedom of Worship'?
Words matter - listen carefully to our current administration
This article first appeared in July, 2010. We've come a long way since then regarding President Obama's Cairo speech and other presidential modifications for the term "religious freedom." It seems that the concerns expressed two years ago have borne fruit. Are we now discovering that this change of language does indeed mean there is a change of policy? As Catholics, this is an area where we must remain vigilant. These small changes can be used to change our understanding of fundmantal rights and freedoms.
The words "religious freedom" have been batted about and re-defined in many ways, even by those who are classified as Christian clergy. Rev. G. Jude Geiger, Unitarian Universalist Minister, wrote a piece on the Huffington Post blogsite where he turned these two words on their ear.
"We continue to hear stories in the media of struggles around religious freedom," he wrote. "When I think of religious freedom, I think of the freedom to worship God (or not to worship God) as I see fit. It includes the freedom to hold one's own personal beliefs or to congregate where, when and how one sees fit.
"I see this as a clear attack by religious conservatives on the American institution of religious freedom. By requiring citizens to follow the religious teachings of certain faith traditions, we in essence are asking our country to follow and abide by those particular traditions."
Here we see two major violations. First he narrows freedom of religion to only include freedom of worship. He then forms a hasty generalization, saying that the position of the Catholic Church would be imposed on all. This is simply not the case.
In a recent story on LifeSiteNews about the closure of Catholic hospitals due to the HHS mandate, writer Ben Johnson cites Cardinal George about this intentional shift.
"The Obama administration's rhetorical shift from supporting 'freedom of religion' to 'freedom of worship' paralleled an earlier shift in Russia," he said.
"'Freedom of worship was guaranteed in the Constitution of the former Soviet Union,' Cardinal George said. 'You could go to church, if you could find one. The church, however, could do nothing except conduct religious rites in places of worship-no schools, religious publications, health care institutions, organized charity, ministry for justice and the works of mercy that flow naturally from a living faith. All of these were co-opted by the government. We fought a long Cold War to defeat that vision of society.'
"'The State is making itself into a church,' he stated."
The Cardinal's point answers the indictment of Rev. Geiger, who claims Catholics are trying to make themselves into a state church. Just the opposite; we see the government becoming the voice of moral and spiritual doctrine.
Make no mistake, the war of words extends far beyond coopting the term "religious freedom."
The age of relativism - in its many forms including those who are pro-abortion or a part of the homosexual equivalency movement against true marriage - wants to silence all opposition. While it is OK for those who embrace those agendas to condemn any disagreement and call people names, they angrily denounce any slips from their opponents. There is no longer any room for difference of opinion or conviction.
We recently watched this in the onslaught against Rush Limbaugh for his comment regarding Fluke, while mainstream media pundits lobbed multiple slurs toward Kirk Cameron using vile words in response to his views on gay marriage.
The war of words has so many battlefronts that we have to be ever vigilant. We have to weigh words very carefully and make sure we really understand what people are saying and what we mean.
It wasn't that many years ago that radio, television and newsprint formed the golden triangle of communication. Today we have the virtual world, including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube and the myriad of blogsites that inhabit the Internet.
On the World Wide Web, anyone can build a kingdom. As Catholics, we will need to learn well how to stand up for the Kingdom of our God and of His Christ, depending on the power of the Holy Spirit. Many, I believe, will need to be called as the "pen of a ready writer." This is our battlefield today.
WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - The change in language was barely noticeable to the average citizen but political observers are raising red flags at the use of a new term "freedom of worship" by President Obama and Secretary Clinton as a replacement for the term freedom of religion. This shift happened between the President's speech in Cairo where he showcased America's freedom of religion and his appearance in November at a memorial for the victims of Fort Hood, where he specifically used the term "freedom of worship." From that point on, it has become the term of choice for the president and Clinton.
In her article for "First Things" magazine, Ashley Samelson, International ...
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Politics & Policy News
- E.W. Jackson Wins Nomination as Republican Candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia
- 'Planned Parenthood has been far more lethal to black lives than the KKK ever was!' Virginia GOP nominee says
- Food stamps hang in the balance as lawmakers debate cost
- News to ruin your morning: IRS official who targeted conservatives for audit now oversees your Obamacare compliance
- Culture of Corruption, Obama pays Sarah Ingram extra for her harassment of conservatives
- Culture of Corruption: Why Obama's misuse of Marines is wrong
- Rubio: Obama's intimidation of tea party groups 'not in isolation'
- Editorial: Is the Scandal Ridden Obama Administration Becoming a House of Cards?
- Obama asks for more money, Marines to protect embassies
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?