War on ‘Free Exercise’ of Religion
Americans who believe in God had better wake up and realize that a well-orchestrated campaign is moving to fundamentally transform the United States into a scrupulously secular nation. If this succeeds, we will no longer enjoy our First Amendment right of “free exercise” of religion but will be forbidden to speak or display any prayers, Bible quotations, or other evidences of religion in any public place or event.
The major strike force working to accomplish this consists of the ACLU plus various atheist groups. They are always ready to file lawsuits to get some supremacist judge or school superintendent to restrict religious expression and even religious music.
This effort is magnified by two other organizations that have a major impact on our culture: the military who feel the temptation to be politically correct and the liberal bureaucrats in public schools who now feel free to teach their leftwing views. Barack Obama’s fingerprints are not on most of these acts, but his anti-religious attitudes are widely enough known to encourage those on the public payroll to charge ahead with extremist politically correct policies.
We’d like to know if Pentagon officials have met with any Christian leaders to balance the aggressive lobbying by those who want to silence all religious expression by members of the military. Nine senior Army or Navy officers were dismissed this year, and some wonder if this was a purge of senior officers suspected of not toeing the Obama party line.
A U.S. Air Force chaplain has come under fire for posting a column in the Chaplain’s Corner section of his base’s website entitled “No Atheists in Foxholes; Chaplains Gave All in World War II.” An outfit called the Military Religious Freedom Foundation sent an irate letter to the base commander claiming that 42 anonymous airmen had complained. Col. Kenneth Reyes was then ordered to remove his article. The anti-religion group wasn’t satisfied; it then called for further punishment of the chaplain, complaining that the title “No Atheists in Foxholes” is a “bigoted, religious supremacist phrase,” and the article is an “anti-secular diatribe.”
You may be wondering what exactly was in Col. Reyes’s column. The answer is it was a very innocuous message. He summarized the World War II origins of the “no atheists in foxholes” phrase and commented that faith could be religious or secular. There was no mention of atheists outside of the historical phrase or to any particular religion. There was no implication that faith has to be in any particular God. Col. Reyes’s column merely implied that everyone has faith in something. Incidents like this build a climate of intimidation and discrmination against Christians in the military. It is really the atheists attacking Col. Reyes who are spreading a climate of hate.
A Young Marines program in Louisiana, which has been helping at-risk youth for 25 years, lost its federal funding because its graduation ceremony mentions God. The oath says simply, “I shall never do anything that would bring disgrace or dishonor upon my God, my country and its flag, my parents, myself or the Young Marines.” Graduation also includes a voluntary and non-denominational prayer that, in 25 years, no one ever complained about. But Obama’s Department of Justice discovered the oath and prayer in a random audit and then demanded that both be removed or else the government would cut off its $15,000 in federal funding.
The U.S. Air Force Academy has ordered the removal of the phrase “So help me God” from the Cadet Oath, the Officer Oath, and the Enlisted Oath in the Academy Cadet Handbook. Parents are attacking this move as a disservice to the men and women who want to include the oath as a solemn reminder that they are pledging their fidelity to God and their country. As Chaplain Ron Crews said, “This phrase is a deeply rooted American tradition which George Washington began as the first president of the United States, and many who take an oath of service to our Country still state it.” Parents are calling on the Air Force to restore the oath so that cadets who come from faith backgrounds would be supported in solemnizing their oath with the words that generations of officers before them have used.
Some public school busybody bureaucrats are trying to suppress any and all religious mention on school property. Their orders are far more extreme than anything courts have ever held to be violations of the First Amendment.
Sports are a favorite target of the anti-religious crowd. A high school football coach, Marcus Borden, was forbidden even to bow his head or “take a knee” during voluntary student-led prayers before the games. In Texas, a boy’s track relay team ran its fastest race of the year and defeated its closest rival by seven yards, which should have enabled it to advance toward the state championship. The team’s anchor runner pointed to the sky to give glory to God as he crossed the finish line, but someone didn’t like the gesture so the authorities disqualified this winning team because of it.
In North Carolina, a high school junior knelt for a brief two-second prayer before a wrestling match, and the referee penalized him a point for doing so. High school officials in Kountze, Texas, and a Wisconsin atheist group called Freedom From Religion made a tremendous effort to stop the cheerleaders from displaying a banner before a football game that read: “And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”
The ACLU and an atheist group called the Freedom From Religion Foundation sued a little school district in Jackson City, Ohio, to force the school to take a picture of Jesus off the school wall. The picture was one of 24 famous historical figures displayed in small frames ever since 1947. The school agreed to remove the picture of Jesus, but the school is now required to pay the ACLU $80,000 for its attorney’s fees plus $15,000 to reward five anonymous plaintiffs.
A senior at Tomah High School in Wisconsin was given a zero on an art project because he added a cross and the words “John 3:16 A Sign of Love” to his drawing of a landscape.
Christmas has come under attack in many schools, trying to ban Christmas observance far beyond what supremacist judges have ever called for. The choir director in Wausau West High School in Wisconsin told the press that he was given three choices by school officials. He could eliminate all Christmas music, he could cancel all December performances, or he could perform one religious song for every five secular songs at all performances, and the district had to approve every selection. The choir director said he would cancel all performances. Parents and the public were outraged. After a stormy school board meeting, the obnoxious orders were rescinded and the kids sang their Christmas carols.
The ACLU in Rhode Island filed a lawsuit to force Cranston High School to remove a prayer banner in the auditorium, even though there had been no complaints in 38 years. The banner reads in part: “Our Heavenly Father: Help us to be good sports and smile when we lose as well as when we win. Teach us the value of true friendship, help us always to conduct ourselves so as to bring credit to Cranston High School.” The sad part of this lawsuit is that it will cost the city of Cranston and Cranston High School a lot of money to pay the attorneys to defend the banner.
An atheist tried to cancel Christmas in the small town of Shreveport, New York this year. The town had hosted “Christmas on the Canal” for 17 years. The event included carols, a tree-lighting, a nativity scene, and a visit from Santa. After the atheist threatened to sue, the major asked the committee of volunteers who organized the celebration to change the name to “Holiday on the Canal” and remove the nativity scene. The committee refused, the town denied funding, and the event was cancelled. The committee then went public with the story, donations poured in, and Christmas on the Canal went ahead as planned. Congratulations to Shreveport for understanding the value of keeping Christ in Christmas and not being intimidated by the atheists.
You can laugh at the following rule issued by the principal at Heritage Elementary in Madison, Alabama, but she was downright serious. She allowed Easter observances including a costumed rabbit, but she issued this imperious warning, “Make sure we don’t say ‘the Easter bunny’ because that would infringe on religious diversity.”
America was founded on very different beliefs about government actions. As Alexis de Toqueville, the Frenchman who traveled around our country in the mid-19th century, wrote: “Upon my arrival in the United States, the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention. . . . The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other.”
Barack Obama has repeatedly shown his disdain for any public acknowledgment of God, Christianity or religion. This year when he recorded his reading of the Gettysburg Address on the 150th anniversary of that famous speech, he purposely omitted Abraham Lincoln’s famous words “under God” after “one nation.” In at least one of his Thanksgiving Day addresses, he thanked a lot of worthy people, but somehow God didn’t make the cut.
Obama’s goal seems to be to shrink our First Amendment right of the “free exercise” of religion to what he calls “freedom of worship,” which means it would still be OK to go inside your church, shut the doors and say a prayer; but you would be prevented from speaking about your faith or religion at any public meeting, event, or school. The best source for more information about this is No Higher Power: Obama’s War on Religious Freedom by Phyllis Schlafly and George Neumayr (available at eagleforum.org and other websites and bookstores).
The President Lied to Us
“If you like your health insurance, you can keep it. Period.” Those words will haunt Barack Obama through the remainder of his term, and probably achieve eternal life in books of memorable quotations.
Obama’s words will levy even more contemporary embarrassment and political immortality than George H.W. Bush’s “Read my lips. No new taxes,” or Bill Clinton’s “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” (Bush probably believed his “no new taxes” pledge when he said it, but he reversed his policy so soon that it sounded like a lie.)
Obama’s famous line is worse than those of the others because it was a gross lie about something that matters to millions of Americans and costs them lots of money. His line is also unforgettable because he repeated it so many times (37 times according to PolitiFact), and because his staff knew it was a lie when they put it on the teleprompter and notepad for Obama to read.
To compound his contempt for the American people, Obama’s so-called apology was not an apology at all. It was a bunch of soft-sell words to enable his media sycophants to pretend it was an apology.
Now Obama is trying to cover his tracks by revising what he said. His revision of this promise is that you can keep your health insurance but it must be a better plan.
“Better,” of course, means it must cover more medical conditions and services that you don’t want or need, such as pregnancy for men and women over age 50, anti-addiction therapies, and the new mandate to give equal coverage to mental problems.
Contrary to reports by the media, Obama did not apologize for lying to the American people. He did not say he was sorry for lying to us. He said he is “sorry” that some people find themselves in a “situation” based on his “assurances” that were “not as clear as we needed to be.”
That’s tantamount to saying it’s our fault that we misunderstood. In fact, Obama did make it perfectly “clear” that we could keep our health insurance and our doctor. He did not say he was sorry for giving us false assurances.
The American public is left with an Obamacare website that does not work, and which has become fodder for late-night comedy routines. The District of Columbia signed up only five Obamacare enrollees for the month of October, at an average cost to the taxpayers of $26.7 million apiece.
For $26.7 million, an individual could receive a valuable amount of medical care. Instead, under Obamacare, the American public is receiving little more than frustration, bureaucracy, and broken promises.
Other states are reporting similar financial debacles. Delaware reports that the cost of its four enrollees in the Delaware health insurance exchange under Obamacare is $1 million apiece, at taxpayer expense.
The more Obama talked with NBC News, the deeper into a hole he dug himself. He criticized as “sub-par” the current health insurance plans that many Americans have and like, and he assured those people they will like the “better” insurance that Obamacare will force them to replace it with, even though it’s more expensive and covers more problems that they don’t want and can’t afford.
Now we find that a doctor shortage is threatening to make the rollout of Obamacare even more difficult. Obama added another very “clear” statement when he spoke to the American Medical Association on June 15, 2009: “No matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health-care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health-care plan. Period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”
Obama’s lie about medical insurance nestles firmly in his administration’s pattern of deception about other issues. His push for amnesty is also encrusted with lies.
Start with the repeated promise that any amnesty deal will include closing the border to future illegals. Those promises have been repeated for years and the Administration obviously has no intention of closing the border to illegal entrants.
Congress passed the Secure Fence Act of 2006 by 283 to 138 in the House and 80 to 19 in the Senate. Knowing of the bill’s overwhelming popularity, President George W. Bush invited the press to photograph him signing the bill, and we cheered the photo op.
The most interesting part about the Secure Fence Act is that this overwhelmingly popular law was never funded. So, therefore, why is it so difficult to refuse funding for the most unpopular law in our times, Obamacare?
Whom Is John Kerry Representing?
John Kerry is turning out to be an even more dangerous Secretary of State than Hillary Clinton. He just took it upon himself to unilaterally proclaim that the Monroe Doctrine is dead, saying, “The era of the Monroe Doctrine is over.”
The Monroe Doctrine has been a fixed star in American foreign policy since December 2, 1823. Its essential words are: “The political system of the allied powers is essentially different from that of America. We should consider any attempt on their part to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety.”
The operative words are: “this hemisphere,” “dangerous to our peace and safety,” and “system.” The Monroe Doctrine is not limited to military aggression; it prohibits extending the “system” of foreign powers to the Western Hemisphere, recognizing the fundamental difference between our constitutional republic and Old World empires and dictatorships.
The Marquis de Lafayette called the Monroe Doctrine “the best little bit of paper that God ever permitted any man to give the world.” The Monroe Doctrine has been successful over the centuries in keeping Old World dictatorships out of our hemisphere.
In 1823, the Monroe Doctrine was specifically directed at Imperial Russia when Czar Alexander was trying to colonize our Pacific coast. President James Monroe made his courageous declaration at a time when America had no standing army and our navy had only five sailing ships.
But we had a proud sense of national identity and national security. Monroe’s Secretary of State, John Quincy Adams, stated, “There can, perhaps, be no better time for saying, frankly and explicitly, to the Russian government that the future peace of the world cannot be promoted by Russian settlements on any part of the American continent.”
During the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, the problem was Russia again. The American people fully backed President John F. Kennedy in forcing Khrushchev to remove Soviet missiles from Cuba.
In October 1983, the Soviet Union tried to turn the island of Grenada into a Soviet base. The American people fully backed Ronald Reagan’s use of U.S. troops to counter this threat in the Western Hemisphere, and we can look back on Reagan’s rescue of Grenada as the turning point in official American policy toward Soviet Communism.
The U.S. State Department later published a selection from the 35,000 pounds of captured documents proving how the Soviet Union had planned to use Grenada as a base of operations and supplies. Grenada was being prepared as an air base for Soviet military jets, a port for Soviet vessels, and a base for exporting revolution.
One document quoted a Soviet military chief as gloating, “Nineteen years ago we had only Cuba. Now we have Cuba, Nicaragua and Grenada — we are making progress.” But Communist progress was halted when Reagan ended the Cold War, as Margaret Thatcher famously said, “without firing a shot.”
Like Kerry’s repudiation of the Monroe Doctrine, he is selling out U.S. interests in other negotiations, many of which are conducted in secret such as the current ones with Iran and Afghanistan. The Associated Press reported that “The U.S. declined to release specific details about the negotiations” with Afghanistan, and John Kerry confirmed that “We have agreed on the language that would be submitted to a Loya Jirga, but they have to pass it.”
Kerry didn’t define “we,” but we know it does not include the American people, who certainly have not agreed on any terms of a treaty with Afghanistan. Much as the American people don’t want to put our fate in the now-dictatorial hands of Harry Reid’s Senate, we surely don’t want to be subject to the 3,000 Afghans called the Loya Jirga.
According to what has leaked out about this treaty and exposed by Diana West, U.S. forces will be forbidden to conduct combat operations in Afghanistan, or even counterterrorism operations against al-Qaida-brand terrorists, without Afghan approval. This agreement commits America to prop up a hostile, corrupt Sharia state, with all our training and equipping of Afghan military forces subordinate to Afghanistan’s approval.
The treaty includes this passage: “The United States shall have an obligation to seek funds on a yearly basis to support” the defense and security of the Afghan state. This massive new entitlement program even specifies that “relevant Afghan institutions” will dole out the dollars, so perhaps we should call them “navigators” who will be expediting Afghan-o-care.
During Obama’s 2008 campaign, he said that George Bush “had taken our eye off the ball” by invading Iraq instead of concentrating on Afghanistan, and Kerry charged that Bush “hoodwinked the American people” into the Iraq war. Obama presumably wanted us to look upon the war with Afghanistan as a good war with which he was glad to be personally identified.
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