Skip to comments.Why is Obama Changing “Freedom of Religion” to “Freedom of Worship”?
Posted on 06/29/2010 1:45:00 PM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
Words matter. Words often hold great meaning. That is especially true when it comes to the words of our founding documents like the Bill of Rights in our Constitution. Those words are especially cherished. Yet in the past year it appears the Obama administration has been changing one key word in that sacred scroll.
Last month the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedoms 2010 report revealed grave concern about both President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton rejecting the term freedom of religion for the term freedom of worship in public pronouncements. Why the change when the First Amendment talks specifically about our freedom of religion and not simply worship?
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof US Constitution
Last November Obama used the term freedom of worship at the memorial service for the victims of the Ft. Hood shooting. A few days later he did it again in speeches in both Japan and China. In December Hillary Clinton also used that terminology three times in a speech at Georgetown University and never once used the phrase freedom of religion. In January of this year Clinton used the freedom of worship term four times while addressing senators.
This change in phraseology could well be viewed by human rights defenders and officials in other countries as having concrete policy implications. U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedoms 2010 report
The response by many religious freedom advocates is fear of what this all means. Nina Shea, director of the Center for Religious Freedom and member of the Religious Freedom commission believes freedom of worship is limited to private beliefs and prayer but not public activity.
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. Nina Shea
Some Christian based publications are also worried.
Thats not an inconsequential change: Freedom of worship means the ability to have church services, which is crucial, but leaves out protection for Christian schools, publications, and Christian compassionate ministries Freedom of religion means that ministries designed to help prisoners change their lives, or to help the poor enter the workforce, can teach what the Bible teaches. Under freedom of worship, these ministries could become illegal, as they are in many parts of the world. This is a development to watch warily. World Magazine
Some in the State Department argue the words religion and worship can be used interchangeably and there is nothing to worry about. Others arent so sure and see this change in terminology as a major shift by the Obama administration.
Those of us in the business of sniffing out rats know that this is a rhetorical shift to watch. Tom Farr, Professor of Religion and World Affairs at Georgetown University and the former head of the State Departments International Religious Freedom Office
This President clearly sees religion as a key part of foreign affairs when the Muslim world is involved especially. He is ultra-careful to not want to offend followers of Islam. We already know that the administration has rejected the term radical Islam or any similar language and refuses to admit religion plays a major roll in terrorism.
This new terminology of freedom of worship might be given as a sign to Muslim nations and places with Christian persecution like China that they are not going to crack down on religious persecution for minority religions in those countries. That could explain why Obama first used the term after a radical Muslim killed Americans at Ft. Hood. And it could also explain why he used the term in speeches in China and Japan.
Im very fearful that by building bridges, were actually stepping away from this fundamental principle of religious freedom. It is so critical for Western, especially American, leaders to articulate strong defense for religious freedom and explain what that means and how it undergirds our entire civilization. Nina Shea
Shea has it right. Im not sure who all the Obama administration is trying to build bridges with by a shift in terminology, but it it a dangerous shift. When Obamas folk shift terminology that always means there has been a shift in policy. They (with the exception of Vice President Biden) choose their words very carefully. The administration needs to publicly proclaim what this new policy means for Americans and for religious freedom around the world.
It's the language of relativism and political correctness. "Worship" reduces the issue to the mere style and manner of prayer and worship in ceremonies. Religion implies the wider theology, religious ideology and moral teachings which apply to the conduct of life, good vs. evil, etc. Christianity is not just about how people should "worship" privately on Sundays in church services. There are people who play a language game claiming that Christianity is not a "religion" or who like to limit discussions of theological doctrines and moral teachings. And there are secularists and agnostics opposed to all religion who view the "freedom of worship" as quaint and a concession but one which should be kept private and out of the public sphere entirely - i.e., no civic prayer, no prayer in schools, no Christmas Nativity displays in public, no public discussions of religion or religious morality wherever they can file a grievance with the ACLU or the Supreme Court to prohibit that.
Obama doesn't attend Church so people can guess at where he fits in.
Like you said.
Freedom of religion is freedom to picket the abortion clinics, teach publicly, profess your faith publicly.
This is the kind of freedom that scares the Left the most.
Preach it, liljay!
All evil in the world comes from rejecting God as God.
And then, someone may query, what about all these “religious” people who turn out to be power mad and/or lust freaks?
They might have been sincere at one time (or not). But somehow, they fell for the worst lie and trick of all:
“Yes, I am a holy man/holy woman, I am really good, not as bad as (those icky sinners of choice). Since God has had mercy on me, that makes ME special [not that His mercy is so great it falls even on a lowly person such as myself!].”
Such so-called “spiritual” pride is not only the worst of all, it is the very seed of all that is bad. It is envy of God.
A truly humble servant of God experiences that His love and mercy coming to me is not because I am good, but beacuse HE is Good and loves even the most sinful and fallen. And He is so great, He can change the hearts of the most degraded and fallen. Who would not strive to love such a wonderful Lord?
The saddest thing is that people like the author are blocking their hearts from real life, real love and real happiness, by their very attempts to be “happy”.
“Still have too many yellow dog democrats that havent died yet.”
We can always pray for Hope and Change...and the passing on on some of those folks...well...I’ll end my comment there. ;o)
BTW, I know some of them, and love them, but...
And I don't expect that the November elections will help as much as we hope. Obama has shown he is willing to just go around Congress and has contempt for the USSC.
But in the end, Me and my house will serve the Lord.
Amen, and amen!!! Beautifully said.
Remebering this is the real daily bread, my friend!
So his fellow muzzies will be free to moon the heavens and innocent bystanders 5 times a day any place they can drop their prayer rugs?
As they already are... The Zero is working for the Enemy. Whether knowingly or not - he is working for the Enemy. More and more people are becoming aware of what that means as his mask slips down a little bit more each day. And they are rising up and refusing his leadership. It’s already happening and shows no signs of stopping or slowing down.
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