Friday, February 10, 2012

First Amendment Fight--Holy War?

I’m seeing a disturbing pattern, and I don’t mean my husband’s Christmas tie.

During his recent speech at the National prayer breakfast President Obama described our time as “a time when it’s easy to lose ourselves in the rush and clamor of our own lives, or get caught up in the noise and rancor that too often passes as politics today.” Then he suggested we need to pray, “avoiding phony religiosity,” and listen to our Creator.

Well, I’m thinking that either Obama has lost himself in noisy politics, or, in order to avoid phony religiosity, he is just avoiding religion, or rather freedom of religion all together.

We all have been hearing about the current contraceptive controversy, but let’s look back at the recent little-publicized yet epic Supreme Court decision in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commision.

With an astonishing, unanimous 9-0 margin, the Supreme Court slammed Obama’s view that the federal government can tell a church what ministers it must employ if the church violates anti-discrimination employment provisions. The administration claims that under our Constitution, clergy have no special protection. To that the majority ruled it is “hard to square with the text of the First Amendment itself, which gives special solicitude to the rights of religious organizations. We cannot accept the remarkable view that the Religion Clauses have nothing to say about a religious organization's freedom to select its own ministers." Take that.

The president has said, “it is our hope that people of goodwill can pursue their values and common ground and the common good as best they know how, with respect for each other.” But I think he’s sending the message that if the “best they know how” isn’t what he and the government want and think is best, then the government should step in. Even in religion.

When the Obama administration lost their fight on the standpoint of religious freedom and ministers, they tried reaching into religious freedom another way, which we’ve heard so much of lately, the contraception mandate.

I’m left to wonder what is next? Will Obama’s government decide appropriate Sabbath day activities, or decide who can or cannot be allowed into sacred facilities, or maybe even decide what religion, if any, people can practice and how? It’s pretty clear to me that no liberties, no Constitutional Amendments are off limits to President Obama’s stepping in and trying to regulate. Including freedom of religion.

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