Friday, February 24, 2012

Obama a staunch defender of religious freedom

In their race to make this election a referendum on religiosity, the Republican presidential candidates frequently decry President Obama as a threat to "religious freedom". However, his administration has actually been incredibly deferential to religion.
Obama may be accused of ignoring the establishment clause of the First Amendment, which forbids government support of religion. But if so, it's because he has given too much deference to religious freedom rather than too little.... In doing all this, the administration isn't simply doing the politically appealing thing. Anything but. Those who endorse letting faith-based groups have a free hand in hiring are mostly religious conservatives who wouldn't vote for Obama if he resurrected the dead.

The congregations victimized by zoning regulations are too small to matter. Prison inmates generally can't vote. There is no detectable political gain in anything Obama is doing here. ...

The president's detractors may continue to portray him as a secular fanatic with, as Rick Santorum claims, an "overt hostility to faith in America." Before they do, though, they might want to remember the Ten Commandments -- especially the one about bearing false witness.
Read the whole thing for descriptions of individual cases.

What the complaint is from the conservatives is that Obama is not favoring a right wing Christian worldview over everyone else's. Isn't it odd that in the USA, a country founded on notions of religious freedom and separation of church and state, that the 2012 election is setting up to be a battle between two wings of Christianity?

Actually I find it rather horrifying. I'm perfectly happy to live and let live with folks of every stripe of faith as long as the public square is open to all. Butut I am very concerned that a pluralistic and tolerant society is being highjacked on the road to theocracy.

Update In another distinctly "non-Christian" fit of mendacity, the Republican side is mis-stating the charitable giving of Obama relative to the Republican candidates. Turns out that the Obamas and the Romneys are both very generous, in terms of the percentage of their giving. Those good Catholics, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum-- not so much.

1 comment:

James said...

IT, you're using facts again. That will never work with the American Taliban.