As Christians we must guard against the temptation to judge others and to assign motives to people for questionable actions. We can’t know the content of another’s heart, nor what is driving them to behave in a particular way.
That being said, public officials must be held to a high level of accountability to the citizens who elected them, the president of the Unites States perhaps more so than any other elected official. He has unmatched power, influence, and responsibility.
While we cannot know the president’s heart nor calculate his culpability, his accumulated words and actions have a decidedly anti-Christian flavor. At this point, I don’t think his antipathy can be denied or ignored any longer.
During the government shutdown military chaplains were prohibited from saying Mass and ministering to the troops. Why? And since that time there have been numerous limitations placed on the speech and actions of military chaplains and many infringements placed on their freedoms of religion and of speech. What could possibly explain such antagonistic actions?
In 2013 the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission under this administration sued a trucking company for failing to accommodate Muslim drivers who did not want to deliver alcohol. And yet no such support is given to Christian bakers and photographers for their religious objections to participating in gay weddings. In fact, they are only treated with scorn and insults.
When speaking at Georgetown University the president asked that the crucifix and IHS symbol behind his podium be removed. Yes, the reason given was that they wanted a neutral background. My question is why was a neutral background needed?
And then there is the Affordable Care Act.
Over the last six months or so the Catholic Church in the United States has found itself in some tension with the executive branch of the federal government over a grave issue: religious freedom…Can a government bureau, in this case the Department of Health and Human Services define for us or any faith community what is ministry and how it is exercised? Can government also coerce the church to violate its conscience?
The president first assured Cardinal Dolan that he considered the “protection of conscience a sacred duty,” and then left the freedom violating mandates in place.
The administration went on to inform Cardinal Dolan that, in Cardinal Dolan’s words, “the broader concerns of religious freedom—that is, revisiting the straight-jacketing mandates, or broadening the maligned exemption—are all off the table.”
Why is this happening? At a minimum it would appear that the president has no respect for the Catholic Church or for religious freedom. How could anyone be so committed to offering free contraception, abortifacients and sterilization to the American people as to be willing to alienate the U.S. Conference of Catholic bishops, the Catholic population, as well as many, many evangelicals? Why would those things be so important? Clearly, this is the most anti-life president we have ever had—by far. And he holds more than a little antipathy toward Catholics in particular.
At the National Prayer Breakfast he minimized the atrocities of ISIS by comparing them to the “terrible deeds” committed during the Crusades and the Inquisition “in the name of Christ.” He went on to blame Jim Crow laws on Christians. (Never mind, Mr. President, that the Crusades were fought against Muslim aggression and that Jim Crow laws could never be justified by Christian teaching.) Christians all over the Middle East are being martyred for their faith and our president chose to criticize Christianity at the National Prayer Breakfast. Virginia governor Jim Gilmore said of the president’s words, “The president’s remarks at the prayer breakfast are the most offensive I’ve heard a president make in my lifetime.” Indeed, in anyone’s lifetime.
And at the Easter Prayer Breakfast at the White House the president said, “On Easter I do reflect on the fact that as a Christian, I am supposed to love. And I have to say that sometimes when I listen to less than loving expressions by Christians, I get concerned. But that’s a topic for another day.” This statement was greeted with laughter.
Keep in mind that the above statement was made on the highest holy day of the year for Christians and just days after a terrorist attack in Kenya by Islamist terrorists where 147 Christians were killed specifically for their faith. These martyrs were not even mentioned in the Easter Prayer Breakfast remarks. And on the day of the Kenyan attack, the president did not even say that these people were specifically killed because they were Christians.
President Obama claims that he is a Christian. Frankly, I don’t know how that could be. He seems to use every opportunity he has to belittle Christians, and his policies have consistently shown hostility to the Christian faith.
We have whispered and thought this for years now. It’s time to hold the president accountable by naming this antipathy for what it is—anti-Christian hostility. Sign the petitions, write the letters to the editor, ask the prospective presidential candidates what they think of the president’s words and actions and how they stand on religious freedom. Ask how their policies differ from the president’s. Take every opportunity you are given to defend the faith and to point out that the president is failing in his solemn obligation to defend the Constitution of the United States—that Constitution that very specifically guarantees religious freedom.