Father Barron Explains What the Obama Administration Means by “Freedom of Worship”

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Ashley Samelson McGuire of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty noted the use of the term “Freedom of Worship” rather than the usual “Freedom of Religion” by Obama back in 2010 in several speeches:

Freedom of worship” first appeared in a high profile speech in Obama’s remarks at the memorial for the victims of the Fort Hood shooting last November, a few months after his Cairo speech. Speaking to the crowd gathered to commemorate the victims, President Obama said, “We’re a nation that guarantees the freedom to worship as one chooses.” Given the religious tension that marked the tragic incident, it was not an insignificant event at which to unveil a new way of referring to our First Freedom.

Shortly after his remarks at Ft. Hood, President Obama left for his trip to Asia, where he repeatedly referred to “freedom of worship,” and not once to “freedom of religion.”

Not long after his return, “freedom of worship” appeared in two prominent speeches delivered by Secretary Clinton. In her address to Georgetown University outlining the Obama Administration’s human rights agenda she used “freedom of worship” three times, “freedom of religion,” not once. About a month later, in an address to Senators on internet freedom at the Newseum, the phrase popped up in her lingo once again.

To anyone who closely follows prominent discussion of religious freedom in the diplomatic and political arena, this linguistic shift is troubling.
The reason is simple. Any person of faith knows that religious exercise is about a lot more than freedom of worship. It’s about the right to dress according to one’s religious dictates, to preach openly, to evangelize, to engage in the public square. Everyone knows that religious Jews keep kosher, religious Quakers don’t go to war, and religious Muslim women wear headscarves—yet “freedom of worship” would protect none of these acts of faith.


Those who would limit religious practice to the cathedral and the home are the very same people who would strip the public square of any religious presence. They are working to tear down roadside memorial crosses built to commemorate fallen state troopers in Utah, to strip “Under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance, and they recently stopped a protester from entering an art gallery because she wore a pro-life pin.

The effort to squash religion into the private sphere is on the rise around the world. And it’s not just confined to totalitarian regimes like Saudi Arabia. In France, students at public schools cannot wear headscarves, yarmulkes, or large crucifixes. The European Court of Human Rights has banned crucifixes from the walls of Italian schools. In Indonesia, the Constitutional Court is reviewing a law that criminalizes speech considered “blasphemous” to other faiths. Efforts to trim religion into something that fits neatly in one’s pocket is the work of dictators, not democratic leaders. So why then have our leaders taken a rhetorical scalpel to the concept of religious freedom?

Go here to read her article in First Things.  With the HHS mandate the strategy of the Obama administration should be crystal clear.  Catholics and other Christians can bitterly cling to their religion every Sunday, but the State will tell them what to do the other six days, and they can expect to have zero impact on public policy.  This was the type of “Freedom of Worship” accorded to believers post Stalin in the old Soviet Union.  It has little to do with the traditional American understanding of freedom of religion, but, then again, all sorts of traditional American understandings of freedom seem to be completely foreign concepts to the Obama administration.

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  1. Going back to the founding principles of The Declaration of independence, we read that all men are created equal and endowed by our CREATOR. By causing a vacuum in the religious expression of Faith, Obama pretends to become our savior. Obama pretends to become our savior on two fronts 1) by imposing himself as a remedy to fill a need for God for his constitutents, while Obama has employed his power to render God incommunicato and ostracized. a giant fraud 2) by imposing himself as the only interpretation of our founding principles, The Declaration of Independence and our Constitution. Both must be ratified by two-thirds of the states for any change to be lawful. Obama violates his constituency by denying their conscience rights and free will. Obama violates the First Amendment by refusing to permit his constitutents freedom to exercise their conscience and free will. “One person cannot own another person” A. Lincoln. It is called slavery. Obama has created hell on earth and he calls it change. but there is hope. I will vote for Santorum in the next election.

  2. If Obama wins, then the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence are gone. Expect to see Bishops and Priests imprisoned for refusing to support HHS, and Catholic laity fired from their jobs on the pretext of being terrorists because they are pro-life. Just watch TV and see how pro-life people are routinely referred to as terrorists. This is all a part of the programming done by the main stream media for Obama.

  3. I think the switch to “freedom of worship” and the Obama’s other anti-religious attitudes may be partly because of its pro-homosexuality attitude. The Obama administration is committed to advancing homosexuality worldwide and does not want religious objections to get in the way. Since some objections are based on religion, and allowing “freedom of religion” could hinder the administration’s homosexual goals, “freedom of religion” must be curtailed.

  4. My goodness, I have to invest in a company that makes fainting couches. In a world full of real problems the ones that people invent are awfully stupid. You people seriously need to get a grip on reality.

  5. Homosexual filth, murder of the unborn and contraception are very real problems and until these are dealt with, we can expect all the other problems of society to continue to become greater and greater until society itself collapses. This November we have a chance to help in stopping that sad decline. Unfortunately, too many people want social justice and the common good without personal righteousness and holiness. That’s not how God made the universe to work.

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