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Free and Strong America

Monday, July 12, 2010

Freedom of "Worship"?

In yet another development in the culture war here in the US, Mark Hemingway points out a little noticed example of how the creep of relativism is affecting the policies of the current administration.

"As we learned earlier this week, even NASA's "foremost" mission is now Muslim engagement. The problem is that the Obama administration doesn't seem to know the difference between Muslim engagement and Muslim appeasement.

With little fanfare, the administration has quietly changed its religion rhetoric. Administration officials no longer speak of supporting "freedom of religion." Instead, they now speak of "freedom of worship."

It should be noted with bitter irony that the president first used the phrase at the memorial service for victims of the Muslim terrorist attack at Fort Hood, Texas. Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have used the phrase many times since then.

The change is of enormous significance. "[Freedom of worship] excludes the right to raise your children in your faith; the right to have religious literature; the right to meet with co-religionists; the right to raise funds; the right to appoint or elect your religious leaders, and to carry out charitable activities, to evangelize, [and] to have religious education or seminary training," Nina Shea, director of the Center for Religious Freedom, told Christianity Today.

Even Saudi Arabia could be said to have "freedom of worship," as the government allegedly guarantees the right to worship in private. Yet, proselytizing there is illegal, and Muslims who convert to Christianity face the death penalty.

Your government is now sending a signal to the world it is OK with this state of affairs. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, of which Shea is a member, worried in its annual report that the shift in rhetoric could have "concrete policy implications."

I first heard of this subtle yet important shift in policy a couple of months ago when Fr. Longenecker linked this article by George Weigel who wrote...

"... speaking at Georgetown University, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton offered a similarly diminished view of religious freedom when she declined to use that term, substituting “freedom to worship” in a catalogue of fundamental human rights that included a striking innovation. Asserting that people must be free to “choose laws and leaders, to share and access information, to speak, criticize and debate,” the secretary of state then averred that people “must be free … to love in the way they choose.” For those with ears to hear in Gaston Hall that day, the promotion of the so-called LGBT (lesbian/gay/bisexual/ transgendered) agenda had just been declared a human rights priority of the United States, in the same sentence in which the secretary of state had offered an anorexic description of religious freedom that even the Saudis could accept (so long as the worshipping was done behind closed doors in a U.S. embassy).

One has to wonder if there is a connection here....

Religious freedom, rightly understood, cannot be reduced to freedom of worship. Religious freedom includes the right to preach and evangelize, to make religiously informed moral arguments in the public square and to conduct the affairs of one’s religious community without undue interference from the state. If religious freedom only involves the freedom to worship, then, as noted above, there is “religious freedom” in Saudi Arabia, where Bibles and evangelism are forbidden but expatriate Filipino laborers can attend Mass in the U.S. embassy compound in Riyadh."

They are right. Freedom of Worship and Freedom of Religion are not the same thing. Next, they will be telling Christians something akin to "Look, you have the Freedom to Worship, don't you? Just keep it in church Pilgrim". Or as Matthew Warner wrote last week...

"... practicing a religion is not just something we do in a worship service on Sunday. It’s not a string of trivial ceremonies we do out of respect for our culture or family tradition. It’s not something that is (reasonably) done half-way. It’s something that permeates every aspect of our lives. It effects how we run our businesses, hospitals, charities and organizations. It effects what we will and will not do in our employment. It effects our local communities, civil laws and political positions. It effects what we say, what we buy, what kinds of behavior are acceptable and healthy, how our children are educated and how we engage in the public debate to control all of these things. It effects everything.

The idea that we can separate the role our religion plays in all of these things is ignorant nonsense. Yet, that is precisely what Obama and his ilk expect you to do.

Many people at this point will disagree with me and insist on a “separation of Church and State.” First, these people have a fundamental misunderstanding of what is meant by the “separation of Church and State.” Second, every communal or collective aspect of society involves competing interests. My interests (religiously motivated or not) are just as valid as anybody else’s. It’s illogical absurdity that a point of view backed up by thousands of years of reasoned wisdom is confined to private “worship” and unwelcome at the public table, but the drivel of a malformed conscience fueled by self-absorption and a sensationalist media is just one of the many wonderfully diverse inputs."


ATVLC said...

they now speak of "freedom of worship."

So did at least one of the "founding fathers" of your country. (Patrick Henry)
And many other presidents...
There's even WWII posters with the phrase.

JD Curtis said...

What you are not taking into consideration here is that the extreme leftist fringe in this country is running this administration.

They are not trying to idealize the thoughts and writings of Patrick Henry. On that I can assure you.

JD Curtis said...

It may seem like a subtle, nuanced little change in terminology but Leninists rarely do such things without it being part of a larger, overall plan in which this is only the beginning.

Froggie said...

More tripe from the Washington Examiner- Ultra right wing loonies.
Hyperbole to the max.
The first amendment protects ALL free speech.

It does entitle right wing fundies to teach our kids their irrational belief systems in the public schools.

Froggie said...

Should have been, "it does NOT entitle"...

JD Curtis said...

Question: Is "Freedom of Worship" the same as "Freedom of Religion"?

Also, by what reasoning would the Obama administration change their terminology?

Froggie said...

1- Yes, in my opinion

2- I don't know, but I sure as heck would not spin it or jump to the conclusion the way your article did until I have vastly more information.

Why don't you write and ask President Obama if there is a difference?

I may do that same thing if I get some time later.

JD Curtis said...

Yes, in my opinion

But an I "worshipping" when go out and share the "Good News" with others? Or am I engaging in something alltogether different? And that's just one example.