Posted on | August 9, 2012 by Wendy Wright |
Soon after President Obama took office, astute observers noticed a one word change in official pronouncements. That one word carries huge implications, yet arrived with no explanation.
This mystery may now be understood as what’s behind some of the most contentious international and domestic policy decisions of the Obama administration — the contraception mandate and aggressive promotion of homosexuality in other countries.
It was changing “freedom of religion” to “freedom of worship.”
Many people wondered and wrote on this at the time. One blogger wondered, “I’m not sure who all the Obama administration is trying to build bridges with by a shift in terminology, but it it a dangerous shift.”
As Christianity Today reported in 2010:
“Freedom of worship” has recently replaced the phrase “freedom of religion” in public pronouncements from the Obama administration. Experts are concerned that the new rhetoric may signal a policy change . . .
Freedom of worship means the right to pray within the confines of a place of worship or to privately believe, said Nina Shea, director of the Center for Religious Freedom. “It 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.”
Now we can see it is even more expansive. It means an employer’s right not to cover contraception and abortion-inducing methods in health insurance. And other countries’ right not to give preference or special exceptions to people who engage in lesbian, homosexual, bisexual and transgender behaviors.
As I wrote in “Obama Elevates LGBT as US Foreign Policy Priority“,
“This new priority puts U.S. foreign policy on a collision course with religious freedom . . . This elevates LGBT above every other people group, including those persecuted for religious beliefs, promoting democracy and human rights, ethnic minorities, and women.
Asked by the Friday Fax if any other minority has this status, the State Department did not respond.
By one account, only nine countries do not discriminate in some way against LGBT individuals, such as donating blood or “higher age of consent laws.”
Obama’s directive comes as Nigeria debates a bill to protect marriage. The Catholic Medical Association of Nigeria denounced “the coordinated ferocity” by foreign governments and international groups “browbeating” legislators to adopt laws that are premised on “dubious science and ethical mischief.”
Tina Ramirez of The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty understood where this would quickly lead. She told the Friday Fax,
“No one disagrees with Secretary Clinton’s truism that religious freedom doesn’t protect religiously-motivated violence against anyone. But the real issue, that neither the President nor Secretary Clinton talked about, is what happens when the LGBT initiative conflicts with sincere conscientious objection. Religious liberty is a fundamental human right protected in the United States Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and countless other human rights instruments; the Administration seems to be treating it as an afterthought.”
But the purpose may be more sinister than building bridges, or a mere oversight.
The Obama administration apparently believes religious freedom and beliefs must be squelched.
Wayne Besen, a homosexual activist, made an astute observation in his article The Tough Battle Ahead in 2011 for LGBT Equality
“LGBT equality in Europe has been greatly accelerated by the erosion of traditional religious beliefs.”
What happened through voluntary surrender in Europe is attempting to be done through government imposition in the U.S.
The Obama administration did not need to pick a fight over contraception as its first implementation of ObamaCare, nor elevate homosexual rights as its top priority in foreign policy. Perhaps a driving motivation was to erode the high regard – and legal protection – for religious freedom.
Clearly these officials believe that “sexual and reproductive rights” have a higher standing than religious beliefs. Their aggressive actions may be an attempt to make their perception a legal reality – without putting it up for a vote.