by Dr. D ~ January 22nd, 2013
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Several times we have noted the subtle change of word usage and rhetoric that President Obama brings to the table when talking about religious liberty. Most folks haven’t really noticed his substitution of ‘freedom to worship’ in place of freedom of religion. It is a far more important issue than many realize and it may actually represent this president’s real intention to limit our religious liberty.
Freedom to worship is far more limited than freedom of religion and it is defined and relegated solely to religious practice permitted between the four walls of a building code and zoning approved official house of worship.
For example, many Muslim dominated countries claim to have ‘freedom to worship.’ Both Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan guarantee ‘freedom to worship’ in their countries but do not have any churches or synagogues so it is a theoretical liberty at best. Then when the Muslim religious police arrest folks celebrating Christmas in their own home like recently happened to some Saudi immigrants it is quite obvious that ‘freedom to worship’ affords no real guarantee of any kind of religious freedom at all.
Just last week President Obama began his presidential proclamation on Religious Freedom Day with the following:
Foremost among the rights Americans hold sacred is the freedom to worship as we choose.
Again he chose to refer to our Constitutional guarantee of religious liberty as ‘freedom to worship.’ My friends, this was not an accidental use of similar sounding words or phrases coming from some ignorant person who doesn’t know the difference but a calculated choice coming from our highly educated president who is supposedly a Constitutional scholar and an honored graduate of Harvard Law School.
The dire implications of this word usage were also noted in a Christian Post Op-Ed by Karen Gushta:
Today, the government has tried to reinterpret the First Amendment from freedom to PRACTICE your religion, to a more narrow freedom to worship, which would limit your freedom to the hour a week you are at a house of worship. This is not only a subversion of the Constitution, it is nonsense. Any religion that cannot be lived out … at home and work, is nothing but a meaningless ritual."
On January 16, President Obama began his presidential proclamation for Religious Freedom Day with the following:
Foremost among the rights Americans hold sacred is the freedom to worship as we choose. Today, we celebrate one of our Nation’s first laws to protect that right – the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom.
Later the proclamation states:
Because of the protections guaranteed by our Constitution, each of us has the right to practice our faith openly and as we choose. [emphasis added]
What are you saying, Mr. President? Is our "practice" of our faith going to be limited to freedom to worship inside our churches and houses of worship, as you punish us for holding to our religious beliefs on Monday through Saturday at our places of work and as we speak out on public forums?
We pray that God will open your heart and mind to see that unless freedom of religion includes freedom of conscience and freedom to speak the truth as we understand it, there is no freedom of religion in this land.
We totally agree with Karen Gushta, “unless freedom of religion includes freedom of conscience and freedom to speak the truth as we understand it, there is no freedom of religion in this land.”
Freedom of religion and freedom of conscience are under assault by this president and his administration. Over the next four years, Christian leaders in this country need to wake up and sound the alarm and be counted when necessary in order to preserve our freedoms and make sure that our religious liberties and conscience are not allowed to slip into the night without a whimper or fight. *Top