Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Obama Lectures India on Religious Freedom
Before leaving India a day early this week in route to Saudi Arabia, our president's parting words were a plea for freedom of religion to be upheld---in a country with a history of religious strife.
He warned India not to stray from its constitutional commitment to allow people to freely "profess, practice and propagate" religion.
When I catch my breath, I'll tell you what else he said.
Speaking primarily to Indian youth, he said, "India will succeed so long as it is not splintered along the lines of religious faith, as long as it is not splintered along any lines, and it is unified as one nation."
The back story behind these comments is that there is ongoing religious strife in India.
About a fifth of India's 1.27 billion people identify themselves as belonging to faiths other than Hinduism.
India's Prime Minster Narendra Modi has been urging the Hindu majority to stop "promoting controversial issues" such as religious conversions, and to focus on less divisive economic issues. It's a very complicated matter in a very complex culture. I've been there.
A Muslim iman in India is now trying to define what the US President actually meant with his comments.
Why would our president choose to address that issue, when it is well known that he is not a champion of religious freedom here at home?
This administration has done more to stifle, suppress and silence religious freedom than any US President in memory.
And "don't stray from constitutional commitment?"
From abortion pill mandates, to ignoring and defeating DOMA, a federal law, to punishing members of our military for "freely professing, practicing and propagating" their Christian beliefs, this administration has consistently repressed religious freedom---at least that of Christians--- while, according to constitutional experts, standing against our Constitution on numerous issues, or at least failing to be loyal to its intent.
It is more easily understood why the president gave India $4 billion, much of which was directed toward Global Warming, aka, Climate Change, without even requiring India to make some kind of emissions commitment as even China has done, while accepting the money.
Global Warming/ Climate Change is a driving force in this president's agenda. He has heeded the call from Al Gore and others, recently saying that human caused climate change is our greatest national threat.
But religious freedom?
And if he really believes religious freedom is foundational to democracy, what are the goals of his anti-religious freedom policies and positions, particularly directed toward Christians and their biblical beliefs?
Two years ago Phyllis Schlafly and journalist George Neumayr wrote a book titled, "No Higher Power." It is both informative and proving to be prophetic. I strongly recommend it.
The authors show how the Obama administration's overreaching and pervasive secularist policies represent the greatest government-directed assault on religious freedom in American history.
Schlafly and Neumayr write, "Obama views traditional religion as a temporary opiate for the poor, confused, and jobless---a drug that will dissipate as the federal government assumes more God-like powers, and his new secularist beliefs and policies gain adherents."
We hear regularly of government's attempt to silence religious expression---particularly Christian expression.
Of the many examples, perhaps one that is most stunning is the deal struck between the IRS and the atheist organization Freedom From Religion Foundation.
The atheists filed suit against the IRS, demanding the Obama Administration delve into preaching from the pulpit to ensure that pastors, priests, and parishioners don't say anything within the four walls of their church that could be construed as "political."
Instead of refusing to impose a draconian monitoring program into the free speeches of the churches, the IRS caved and cut a deal with the angry atheists.
The "deal" was that the atheists would not continue with their suit if the IRS would target churches for specific, targeted monitoring.
The IRS agreed and the case was settled---and out of sight---until Fox News found out about it. Fox claimed the deal not only violated the First Amendment, but could lead to the IRS literally monitoring sermons in churches on Sunday mornings.
As the president affirms his support for the Saudis today, there is a lingering question---at least among some of us.
Why is religious freedom so important to our president in a culture 10,000 miles from home, and under assault here in the world's most exceptional, free and prosperous nation in history---a nation that was founded upon the very Christian values and principles that are now under assault and tagged for eradication.
James Madison, one of our Founders, was clear on the link between civil and religious freedom in Federalist 51.
Controlling religious expression is the first step to controlling private thought. This is why Patrick Henry and others were so animated in their quest for freedom, with expressions like Henry's, "Give me liberty or give me death" statement.
Be Thoughtful. Be Discerning. Be Vigilant. Be Prayerful. Be Blessed.