The Obama administration and the myth of “freedom of religion”…

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Father Ray Leonard spent a decade serving the Tibetan population in China where the regime of the People’s Republic of China didn’t tolerate religious freedom. Of that decade, Fr. Leonard observed:

In China, I was disallowed from performing public religious services due to the lack of religious freedom in China.

Now serving in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese for the Military Services, imagine Fr. Leonard’s surprise when, during the recent government shutdown, the Obama administration prohibited him and nearly 50 other Catholic priests from saying Mass and administering other sacraments at U.S. military facilities around the world. This prohibition was issued despite the fact that Congress had passed, and President Barack Obama signed, a law instructing the Department of Defense (DOD) to keep paying contract employees who were supporting the troops on the job.


The rationale for the DOD prohibition?

According to, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel determined–after consulting with Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department–that civilian Catholic priests, working under contract as chaplains, did not, among other things, “contribute to the morale” and “well-being” of service personnel. In a memorandum dated October 5, Hagel wrote:

The Department of Defense consulted closely with the Department of Justice, which expressed its view that the law does not permit a blanket recall of all civilians. Under our current reading of the law, the standard of “support to members of the Armed Forces” requires a focus on those employees whose responsibilities contribute to the morale, well-being, capabilities, and readiness of covered military members during the lapse of appropriations.

The only civilian contractors who met this standard, Hagel stated, were those working in secular “Family Support Programs and Activities,” “Behavioral Health and Suicide Prevention Programs” and “Health Care Activities and Providers.”

Note how those categories could be construed to include abortionists, but not Catholic clergy.

hagel obama

After Hagel published his determination, DOD maintained that the Anti-Deficiency Act barred civilian priests from volunteering to administer the sacraments to Catholic military personnel at military facilities. Thus, in his role as the Catholic chaplain at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in Georgia, Fr. Leonard was barred from visiting the chapel or his office on the Naval Base beginning October 7, 2013.

Leonard observed:

I never imagined that when I returned home to the United States, that I would be forbidden from practicing my religious beliefs as I am called to do, and would be forbidden from helping and serving my faith community.

Fr. Leonard didn’t take Hagel’s prohibition sitting down and filed a lawsuit against the Department of Defense, the Defense Secretary, the Department of the Navy, and the Navy Secretary. Leonard’s suit alleges that the Obama administration is violating his and his congregation’s First Amendment rights to the free exercise of religion, the freedom of speech, and the freedom of assembly.

With the government shutdown over, Fr. Leonard’s lawsuit is moot.  But, the Obama administration’s secular, anti-freedom of religion ideology remains.



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  1. ” . . . requires a focus on those employees whose responsibilities contribute to the morale, well-being, capabilities, and readiness of covered military members during the lapse of appropriations.”

    Not so.

    “ . . . and their Catholic priest, ever in waiting upon Death or pain, should learn to magnify his office . . . That Commanding Officers, to keep peace and save important pillars of their little society, should first advise and finally order the Padre not to expose himself wantonly in forward posts or attacks, was equally of a piece with human nature; and that the priests, to the huge content of the men, should disregard the order (“What’s a casualty compared to a soul?”) was most natural of all.” Rudyard Kipling, The Irish Guards in the Great War – the First Battalion, Introduction: Zeal for the salvation of souls . . .

  2. Obama’s government will not acknowledge the human being composed of human, rational and immortal soul, because Obama’s government cannot own the human being, body and soul. In the government’s vitriolic anger it does every harm imaginable to humiliate man and reduce man to a piece of property. The sovereign person of man is the target of the government’s unrestrained violence, the violence done to the human soul.
    It is ironic that man’s divine freedom to acknowledge almighty God and thereby find himself among God’s most loved creatures, as an adopted child of God, would be the excuse used by Eric Holder and Chuck Hagel. Hagel, the admitted homosexual practitioner, promised that his rejection of Divine Law would not interfere with the discharge of his duties. Both Hagel and Holder need to be replaced with individuals who recognize the human rights of man and their need to petition almighty God for Divine Providence, the First Amendment, and as inscribed in our Declaration of independence.
    If any person has died during this violation of First Amendment civil rights and not received the Holy Sacraments of the Catholic Church, the case is not moot. The case ought to proceed as a violation of freedom the states’ duty to protect and guard, a violation of the state to acknowledge the sovereign personhood of the human being. This is no longer a case of denying freedom and First Amendment civil rights. It is a case of malfeasance in office and neglect of duty, a court martial offense, treason in the time of war. Are we at war in Afghanistan and Iraq? Hagel and Holder ought to be tried for treason against the people of the United States of America, as five men were killed at war and did not have any acknowledgement of their human souls. These men were treated as some much incidental and inconsequential property as they were denied military benefits. This treason is indecent. Holder and Hagel are disgusting.

  3. T. Shaw: What you wrote is beautiful. I still cannot drive past Cooch’s Bridge and not be grateful to you for telling me about the Revolutionary battle that ensued there when the British landed at Elk’s Neck and marched on the Old Baltimore Pike.

  4. “But, the Obama administration’s secular, anti-freedom of religion ideology remains.”

    And trust me, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet

    Tragically, it is only going to get worse. Much, much, worse.

  5. The state will allow no other gods before it now, won’t it?

    “Freedom of worship“, get used to it.


  6. Chuck Hagel, in addition to being truly one of the dumbest men to ever serve in the Senate, is a fallen away Catholic. After he divorced his first wife, he married an aide he met on Capitol Hill. She was a Baptist and he was Catholic. They “compromised” and became Episcopalians. That sums up the importance of religion to this doofus.

  7. Welcome to the U.S.S.A. – The United Socialist States of America.

    If anyone doubted previously that Obama and his minions are communists, the only remaining ones would be his useful idiots, blinded by ideology – and sadly, that is a very large portion of the American people.
    It is, of course, exacerbated by the lack of cohesion and leadership in the Republicans; Ted Cruz and his accomplices are not receiving anywhere near the support they deserve, with RINOs like McCain still holding influence.

  8. Being a dumb twit is what qualified Hagel to be the Secretary of Defense for Obumbler. A Republican who loves to stick a knife in the back of other Republicans is Obumbler’s kind of Republican…just like McCain and Gramnesty.

  9. bad tactic on Father’s part. he should have done it and gotten arrested, then he could have filed a civil rights suit that would no go moot w the end of the shutdown.

  10. “bad tactic on Father’s part. he should have done it and gotten arrested, then he could have filed a civil rights suit that would no go moot w the end of the shutdown.”
    Treason is giving aid and comfort to the enemy during war. With the gag-order on saying the Mass, the soul of the sovereign person became the property of the U. S. Government. This is treason.
    So, too, the gag-order on saying the Mass violated the principle of separation of church and state and criminalized the practice of religion. This is treason.
    Had the guards killed Father Leonard, this would have been the first shot fired in a civil war.
    Kidnapping and imprisoning Jesus Christ in the tabernacle of the chapel is disrespect of the highest order.

  11. Along with the totally dedicated service of the corrupted secular progressive media which has placed him on a virtual infallible pedestal of smoke and mirrors the once proud Democratic Party now seems to have gained such power that the tentacles of their big government loving voter base can provide this truly misguided soul who vowed to stand with the Muslims when the winds of change offered him the opportunity a clear path to confirm his mission to deChristianize America for the benefit of the deep rooted Islamic faith within his belly.

  12. An ordained priest speaks to God for all the people. The priest offers the sacrifice of the Mass for all people, for “We, the people” and our constitutional “posterity.”
    If Father Ray Leonard was an ordinary secular citizen, a permanent deacon or counselor and he was forbidden to approach men and pray with them and peaceably assemble and read the Holy Scripture, on the military base by Chuck Hagel and Eric Holder, Father Leonard’s First Amendment civil rights, the freedom to practice religion, “or prohibit the free exercise thereof.” to speak to God, to read the Holy Scripture in freedom of the press and peaceably assemble to share with others his vocation to this way of life, Father Leonard’s First Amendment civil rights would have been grievously violated and freedom denied to him, by the government shutdown and the martial law that was imposed.
    Father Leonard’s civil rights case is moot.
    As an ordained priest, Father Leonard speaks to God for all people. Father Leonard, the priest, offers the sacrifice of the Mass for all people, for “We, the people” and our constitutional “posterity.” In prohibiting Father Leonard from offering the sacrifice of the Mass for all men’s souls, the administration has disregarded the need of the human soul, and committed a criminal act of lawlessness against the American people and against the U.S. Constitution.
    Using a government office to subvert the U.S. Constitution is grounds for removal from office. Using a government office to subvert the Catholic Church is religious discrimination, an abomination. Hitler did it. Stalin did it. Obama did it.

  13. In another miscarriage of reality, the priests who were prohibited from saying the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for the people and from practicing their religion on the military bases, were being disenfranchised of their citizenship and civil rights, even while their citizenship was constituting the Obama administration. In reality, if these men as priests and citizens were forcefully prevented from exercising common decency, even though politically disenfranchised, as the constituents of Obama, then, it is Obama who cannot be constituted by these priests and men. Therefore, in Justice, Obama has disenfranchised himself. Those who applaud the disenfranchisement of the priests have already disenfranchised themselves and exported themselves to the dustbin of history.

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