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  • Morning Bell: Protecting Religious Liberty

    President-elect Barack Obama angered gay groups this week by choosing “Purpose Driven Life” author Rick Warren to give the invocation at Obama’s inauguration ceremony. Despite the fact that Obama and Warren have the exact same position on same-sex marriage, gay leaders like Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese object to “the symbolism” of inviting an “anti-gay theologian” to deliver his inaugural invocation.

    But while gay groups have the luxury of worrying about the “symbolism” of Obama choices that have no actual effect on real-world policy, social conservatives are not so lucky. Yesterday, the Bush administration issued a regulation clarifying a 1970s anti-discrimination law that prohibits recipients of federal money from discriminating against doctors, nurses and health care aides who refuse to take part in procedures because of their religious convictions. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) has already sponsored legislation to overturn the regulation and Obama has previously stated that he is committed to undoing the law. This is very unfortunate.

    On June 28. 2006, then-Sen. Obama said, “Secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square. … To say that men and women should not inject their ‘personal morality’ into public policy debates is a practical absurdity. Our law is by definition a codification of morality, much of it grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition.” We couldn’t agree more. Already Obama is facing pressure from the left to dismiss mainstream religious views like those of Warren from the public square entirely. We hope Obama continues to resist these efforts. In particular, Obama should continue to reach out to religious Americans by giving support to the following policies:

    • Protect the ability of faith-based social service providers to honor their religious integrity by maintaining their right to make employment decisions based on religious convictions. Forcing faith-based organizations to abandon their religious identity and religious integrity whenever they partner with the federal government to serve the needy would be a major mistake. As Obama made clear, it would be wrong to ask religious organizations to “leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square”­ — but for many religious organizations, forcing them to abandon their hiring rights whenever they participate in publicly backed social service efforts would do just that.
    • Ensure the availability of federal conscience protections that free medical professionals to serve patients without violating their religious beliefs. In addition to letting Bush’s “conscience rule” stand, Obama should resist other legislation that will force pro-life believers to perform abortions. As even Slate has admitted, legislation like the Freedom of Choice Act will force Catholic hospitals to either perform abortions or shut down. It is impossible to see how forcing people to participate in procedures they consider to be morally objectionable does not require them to “leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square.”
    • Call on all citizens to respect the ability of religious citizens to participate in public policy debates — including debates about marriage — without fear of intimidation and reprisal. Obama correctly stated that it would be a “practical absurdity” for Americans not to “inject their ‘personal morality’ into public policy debates.” In the days since your election, for example, this country has witnessed acts of blatant religious hatred directed against those who supported Proposition 8, the ballot measure in California defining marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman. People who donated to Proposition 8 have been pressured out of their jobs; their businesses have been targeted for reprisals; churches have been vandalized; a copy of The Book of Mormon has been set on fire on the steps of a Mormon church; and suspicious white powder has been sent to Mormon temples. Obama should condemn all efforts to intimidate religious people in the civic arena and should welcome the contributions and perspectives that stem from their “personal morality.”

    Obama has made a solemn commitment to allowing space for religious conviction in the public square. Accordingly, we respectfully urge him to uphold the hiring rights of faith-based social service providers, to strengthen laws protecting conscience rights in the health care arena, and to condemn acts of hostility and intimidation directed against religious individuals and institutions that choose to put their faith into action by supporting important public policies that correspond with their moral views.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    24 Responses to Morning Bell: Protecting Religious Liberty

    1. Sandrajean Brown Stu says:

      Concerning having given Rick Warren the opportunity to do the invocation is a real slap in the face to a group of Americans who are simply trying to live out their life styles. In many cases, They contribute more to the tax system then most Americans. Being single and generally bright. they should not be singled out, not even by innuendo.

    2. Ireland, NYC says:

      My God, I once supported George Bush but, if I had known now what I didn’t know then, he would have never gotten my vote in 2004, Kerry wouldn’t have either because he’s always been a lying liberal with no morals and values, win at all cost type of politicians. Bush on the other hand was once a religious man who once had a conscience, morals and values, things the former First Lady, Barbara Bush instilled in him. He’s attacking the same base that has supported him throughout his political career. I believe there still “free will” philosophy in this Country where a large majority of American worship in a House of God, where they were show what good and evil have done through all history. Religion gave us a conscience and taught us right from wrong. American society has slowly removed morals and values that were once an integral part of living in America. I generally blame the liberals for that but now I’m forced to include a once conservative, religious man in Bush. I think the longer he’s remained in politics the more he’s pulled away from his support based.

      I will pray to God that he regains his sanity, if that’s even possible. I still don’t think the man is evil in the same way the liberals as well as the press has portrayed him. I think he’s lost soul that politics has chewed up. I only hope he’s able to find himself again and return to the church, that he has forgotten or abandoned. Of course the secular-progressives will believe this was the best decision he has made in 8 years.

    3. Vello Ederma, Spring says:

      I applaud the Heritage Foundation for upholding the Judeo-Christian traditions from which sprang the morality-based foundations of America. I am also saddened by the passing of Paul Weyrich, a founder of Heritage. He also founded the Coalitions of America's Stanton Group, of which I was a member for years.

      As one who fled communism and war-ravaged Europe and came to the U.S. as a LEGAL immigrant (under the DP Law), I am grateful for the opportunities it provided me. It saddens me, however, that I find myself in accord with and defending the basic principles of America's founding than many of todays natives with a warped view.

    4. Michael J O'Bri says:

      Spot on and thank you Heritage.

    5. Jean, Stockton, CA says:

      Gays will never give up their agenda! They don't have to answer to the people anylonger, they will answer to God on Judgement Day!

    6. Pingback: Protecting Religious Liberty « Conservative Thoughts and Profundity

    7. Doris Morgan, Oklaho says:

      We are a great country of Law; what about this is so difficult to understand? Geez! Law is

      to make the lives of the average citizen easier.

      If a pharmacist refuses to dispense a doctor-ordered birth control prescription, it makes a

      lady's life much more complicated if this doesn't

      happen…in accordance with our laws.

      While we fiddle with this kind of argument, our

      country burns……. Let's get back on track.!!

    8. Jules Gilpatrick Lak says:

      By far the biggest "practical absurdity" America faces is using tax dollars contributed from Americans of all faiths and no faith to fund programs promulgated by religious organizations holding mutually exclusive views. Of course, people who sincerely believe that their religious views do not allow them to perform acts that are cheerfully taken up by others of different beliefs, may abstain from performing them. However, they should be doing so on their own dime, not the dimes contributed in taxes by those believing differently or not believing at all.

      Conservatives have no concept whatsoever of the converts they could acquire if their religious beliefs would be closely and privately held. I talk with many of my Liberal friends who hold many views similar to mine but do not want to become associated with Conservatism because they sincerely believe that to do so is prima facie evidence that they are signing on to religious Kookism.

      If religious Conservatives really believe in an all-powerful God who intervenes regularly in the affairs of men I would think they would get a clue from what God has obviously done to them since 2006. Like militant Islamists, simply explaining Conservative losses as the "work of the Devil" is burying one's head in the sand. A much more likely explanation is that God is pretty "P.O.ed" at the way Conservatives have been carrying on and is letting us all know His feelings about Coservative political/religious doctrinary comingling in no uncertain terms!

    9. ella quinn kinsto says:

      Bush is stoll a good man. The gays will always be like that.They do not believe they are wrong.Thank god for the heritage founation.I am glad he picked rick warrren instead of rev. wright.We would have all screamed if he had. Ella

    10. Pingback: Relgious Liberty Reader, December 21, 2008 « Freedom of Religion

    11. LVKen7@Gmail.com - says:

      THERE SHOULD BE A LAW

      against the NYTimes TELLING THE TRUTH ABOUT BuSh.

      THAT is ALL they did.

    12. JC O'Connor says:

      43% of the USA don't pay income taxes.

      83% wanted the boarders closed.

      We screamed no amnesty, no bailout. Our Congress is deaf and our President ignores us. The Constitution is dead and so is my spirit for America. I'm disgusted with it all. One can throw out a rotten apple now and then but when the barrel-full is rotten it's time to empty out the barrel.

    13. Dave McDuffie, lagun says:

      To the gay population, which most of us love and respect, inspite of our differences in sexual persuasion: Prop 8 says marriage is between a man and a woman…not a "heterosexual" man and a "heterosexual" woman! Just a man and a woman. Now just who is left out of the equation? Right, NOBODY! Only animals are left out really and if we start including "sexual preferences", who is going to step up and demand they have a RIGHT to marry a chicken, goat, pig or sheep?! In all honesty there will be thousands of people making that demand! Marriage is really for the benefit of those who plan to "procreate". If the gays want to enter that arena nothing is preventing a gay man and a gay woman from marrying and procreating! In fact, many heteros go the Domestic Partnership route rather than marry because they don't want any children. So what is the problem other than just wanting to be real bitchy and wanting your way,regardless! So can't we all just get along?

    14. don ballew , elk cit says:

      I've been saying for months the saving and loan crisis started in the 1990s. Way before Bush. ACORN, Obama's parent organization, agitated for relaxed home loan lending rules and Clinton bought the idea and came down hard on the S & L industry relax the rules.

      Still, Bush is blamed for the September 15 economic collapse.

      Did the NY Times article say this? Where is the rest of the media on this?

      Why didn't RNC and McCain use this info during the campaign?

      DAB.

    15. Dave McDuffie, lagun says:

      George Bush is a huge disappointment to me personally considering I am a conservative(hated by the liberal media and especially the communist New York Times, which now has a circulation of 6 I believe)and I voted for the man twice…patuiii! He has single handedly destroyed the republican party AND the conservative movement all in one fell swoop! The most liberal president in history, and the libs still hate his guts, no border security and his support of amnesty for illegals so conservatives hate his guts! As for Iraq, Saddam HAD to be taken out and for all of you goodiegoods who have never been to war and are always willing to let someone else do the dirty work while you flap your ignorant gums, in war there is only 2 goals: 1) WIN 2) WIN QUICKLY. And, whoever has the most RULES, LOSES! When your country and its people are threatened THERE ARE NO RULES! And whomever wants to make rules or tie our hands behind our backs or give comfort to the enemy, should be tied up and SHOT! If that had been the way, we would have won also Korea, Vietnam and we would already be out of Iraq and no longer threatened by the Islamic Jihad which does intend to conquer the world. Rather than ignore them, just look at the many thousands of people who they are murdering on a daily basis around the world. You won't find it in the NEW YORK SLIMES though, they pretend it does not exist and of course they don't want to hurt the Islamists' FEELINGS, like typical liberals. And back to Bush, as president he allowed the crooks in the democratic party to run wild and take hundreds of millions of dollars from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and those crooks, Raines, Gorelick, Dodd, Frank and others ARE STILL THERE! We won't mention the millions Obama received, oh I guess we did. We the people are allowing this renegade government to steal us blind and our kids and grand kids will have to pay for it! Way to go America! Way to sit there and DO NOTHING! Millions of real Americans gave their lives for US and our country and you whimps sit there and do nothing. The "greatest generation" has been replaced by the "whimpiest generation"! What happened to Greece, the Roman Empire? History teaches us we fail to learn from history.

    16. Doris Morgan, Oklaho says:

      Regarding the boycotting of those businesses

      contributing to the passage of Prop 8: Just a

      good old-fashioned way of saying "butt out"….

      not everything in this world is your business…

      especially to those contributors out-of-state.

      Calls at private homes and things of that ilk

      are just uncalled for, though. Make it just business…not personal. Take the high road.

    17. Dennis Weber Kalam says:

      All the media are telling us that we and the rest of the world are all interconnected economically and thus America must adjust our policies and "join the crowd". America is two things, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. We cannot and must not let world markets ands globalism ruin our Liberty and Freedom that we have fought and died for. It is NOT TRUE that the economy is the most important thing in America. The most important thing is to keep our Freedom, Liberty and to NOT dilute them with bowing to the World Market and Globalism. Amereicans have fought and died for liberty and freedom and NOT FOR television stations, cars, television programs. and all the other things that are of little importance when balanced against our Liberty. Global business, global banking, global government are not of any importance when balanced against our Liberty. I will not live in a country where our leaders worship globalism instead on the precepts of the Declaration of Independence. Governments, the world over, have converted law into a weapon that is used to subjugate their citizens.

    18. Dave Schraub, coates says:

      ditto's to Mr McDuffie! the only thing he did'nt say was the worst amendment to the constitution is the XXVI, which gave 18 year olds the right to vote. they don't pay taxes, they don't contribute to society, and they're still being indoctinated by the liberal school system. they are the votes that put the liberals in power.

    19. Penny Thompson says:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RZVw3no2A4
      Here in lies the answer to who caused this crisis-Dodd and Frank know that the sheeple will believe any lie that the NYT will print. Obama's "change" team consists of most of the people who had their dirty little fingers in the Fannie/Freddie pie and the ones who were supposed to be watching the hen house are now the ones investigating what went wrong!!!!! God help us!

    20. Joseph, Portland says:

      Once again the NYT has proved its infinite wisdom through yet another fallacy of there own. Even worse, they covered this topic in September of 1999. Has anyone checked its stock price lately? $21.14 fifty-two weeks ago all the way down to $6.66 as of today. Is it possible that we could be looking at another government bailout??

    21. david richfield says:

      Good point about , if we the nation are not religious, why does the government have religious holidays?

      You're right. There shouldn't be any government religious holidays.

      oxymoronic?

      You don't like the free parking downtown?

      I sure do.

      Yes, the law is the law, but it doesn't give anybody the right to tell anybody else who or what God is.

      WE THE PEOPLE have a legal separation of church and state under the Constitution.

      Amendment I

      Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; …

      It does say " In God we trust" on the one dollar bill. It doesn't say "under god", but I don't care this difference.

      But the 10 commandments on a "Public Installation"…?

      I think you're getting close to violating Amendment 1.

      It's just not the business of the US government to tell Americans what to think about God.

      in the rebuttal, it said… "Since we can't pray to God, can't Trust in God…

      excuse me,

      No law prevents me from praying to God.

      No law ever could.

      No law prevents you from trusting in God.

      No law ever could.

      And no, under the Constitution, I can't post my version or anybody else's version of what God's law is on any public building, and

      a Fine thing that is, under OUR law.

      There are hundreds of sects of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, etc, (all American citizens and taxpayers) that would love for their special version of their man made "truth" about God to appear on your government issued anything.

      I shouldn't need my money, or some building to remind me to pray to god or trust in God.

      And government has never had the power to eliminate God from any facets of my life.

      And thank God I don't have the power to prevent a government worker from celebrating anything.

      Which "God Words" would be the right ones for OUR government to print?

      Yours? from your neighbors' pastor? My favorite psalm?

      How do you know?

      How do we know?

      what if others think theirs are more right than yours or mine?

      Who decides?

      The government? How?

      The government can never decide that.

      So…

      As Americans, WE SEPARATE CHURCHES FROM THE STATE.

      Amen.

      I personally, would prefer that we honored the vision of the Founding Fathers, who, having had full knowledge of what it was actually like to have escaped a Christian nation which had persecuted ANY who were not part of the King of England's Church.

      The King of England was also the chief stockholder in the largest corporation in the world, The British East India company.

      And, that company, thru it's economic/Political/Religious POWER, was

      trying it's best to bankrupt all of the Mom and Pop Tea importers in the American colonies, by lowering the taxes on the British East India company.

      Using market share, boycott, supply and demand, and unfair taxes, the head of the Church of England was doing his level best to prevent Americans from having their own businesses, and their own destiny, because he was exercising political and economic power.

      Bostonians threw his tea in the harbor, fearful that they would be hanged for treason.

      They swore each other to secrecy until they were all gone, to protect each other from the crown's vengeance.

      But they succeeded in establishing The United States of America.

      King George's Britain was a nation where church and state were not separate.

      Part of the reason to hate the guy is that he was a religious monarch with his own army.

      Think very carefully about allowing any one politician or special interest to print scripture on public buildings or money.

      It's, after all, not that American.

      Hitler was big into his corny version of christian scripture being printed on government anything.

      He was going to deliver a thousand years of peace, in God's name. We're still waiting.

      It's American to protect Everybody's right to believe in God any way that they want, and to also not be forced to believe…

      1) …in any body else's version of God, (face it, all of the scriptures are written by human beings, regardless of how correct you think your version is, others disagree) or…

      2) …in God at all.

      Would God force you to believe in him/her/it?

      Has He/she/it?

      If not, then why would I want to force other Americans to pay their tax dollars to have your "words of God" engraved on one of OUR public buildings?

      Or, what if they had a bigger e-mail list or more money and got the "wrong God words" on your public building?

      David

    22. Dave Kipp, Wausauke, says:

      Regarding "A Legacy that Matters", I have read the entire series "The Reckoning" from the NYT. President Bush should not feel alone since the series tars and feathers many of the players in this ongoing financial fiasco. There is little in my opinion that the president could have or should have done to prevent the crisis but there is much the the congress and regulatory bodies could have and should have done.Now I am sure congress will endeavor to pass restrictive regulations on the financial community in hindsight, but just like many other laws and regulations already on the books it is enforcement of existing regulations and integrity of both individuals and corporate entities that are lacking. The loosening of lending requirements begun in the Clinton administration combined with the proliferation of complex derivatives, which even those who created them, perhaps blinded by greed, were not fully cognizent of the long term ramifications.In retrospect we will examine this debacle in minute detail and hopefully change some of more egregious practices that have taken place. But until as a nation we replace greed, apathy and ignorance with charity, honesty and integrity, I'm afraid this lesson will all too soon be forgotten!

    23. William Rickard says:

      The New York Times proves again there is no place for honesty in the liberal media. Trying to put the blame on Bush for a problem that began before he was elected and even foretold by the Times. So much for honest reporting.

    24. Big Dave, Laguna Nig says:

      All you knuckleheads who proclaim "separation of church and state" please read the constitution…it is not in there! It is MADE UP by LIBERALS, out of what they "think" Jefferson "really" meant, but did not come out and say it directly. BS!!!!!! He said EXACTLY what he meant and he meant what he said. Lets break it down to the simple. The government shall not IMPOSE any religion, nor PROHIBIT the exercize thereof. Which means if a government worker wants to exhibit a Christmas tree, a cross, a minorah, or the Koran, NO PROBLEM, THEY HAVE A RIGHT TO DO SO AND ANY PROHIBITION IS AGAINST THE LAW! FUNNY HOW THEY LOOK THE OTHER WAY WHEN ITS A MUSLIM JIHADIST YET CRUCIFY A CHRISTIAN!Whats up Doc?

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