January 16 was Religious Freedom Day. Despite the fact that religious liberty is the fundamental right that led to the permanent colonizing of America for people looking for a new country to live out their faiths, most Americans did not even know about the celebration.
Or maybe the fact that such an event can go unnoticed shows why the Obama administration and the far left can get away with a veritable War on Christians.
The White House issued a Presidential Proclamation to commemorate the event, though if you held your breath waiting for media coverage you would have eventually passed out. If you were to regain consciousness and read President Obama’s proclamation, you might pass out again.
Obama begins by citing a 1786 Virginia statute written by Thomas Jefferson. That was one year before many Virginians would gather in Philadelphia to write the Constitution. Jefferson wrote that religious liberty was a natural right, so attempts to violate religious liberty are “a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of our religion, who being Lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either.”
The Obama administration raised red flags with religious-liberty supporters when Obama took office in 2009, as it started discussing religious freedom as the “freedom of worship,” carrying the implication that you are free to believe whatever you want so long as you confine it to your church building on Sunday morning. This would deny your fundamental right to live out your faith in every aspect of your life the other six days of the week.
Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Ken Blackwell shakes his head that Obama had the audacity to quote Jefferson’s 1786 statute and wax eloquent about it in a proclamation. As Blackwell wrote with the Family Research Council’s Bob Morrison in Catholic Online, “The Obama Mandate is the Gravest Threat to Religious Freedom in 226 Years.”
Ironically, Blackwell notes that the 1786 statute Obama quotes specifically protects people from having to give tax money to churches whose teachings or practices they do not support as a matter of individual conscience. Nonetheless, “President Obama doesn’t care what you think, so long as you join him in helping to destroy the unborn on demand. And help him by paying for it.”
Blackwell is referring to Obamacare’s abortion pill mandate, regarding which the Supreme Court will hear two legal challenges on Mar. 25. The Becket Fund is representing Hobby Lobby in one of those cases, and Blackwell serves on Becket’s board of directors. He and Morrison continue, “Now, all Americans are forced to join President Obama’s professed ignorance of when human life begins, when the unborn come to possess the right to life.”
Another of the greatest threats facing Bible-believing Christians and other people of faith is forced celebration of homosexual marriage. A Christian photographer has been fined in New Mexico for declining to participate in a gay-commitment ceremony (which was not even legally recognized in New Mexico at the time), a penalty upheld by the New Mexico Supreme Court. When the Alliance Defending Freedom asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case (the Court will decide in March whether to take the case), the Obama administration declined to file a legal brief supporting that petition.
As another example, a Christian baker in Colorado has been ordered to bake wedding cakes for homosexual marriages and faces possible jail if he refuses. Again, no support from the Obama administration. The list of religious-liberty violations is growing, yet the Obama administration does nothing to help these well-meaning people of faith.
Religious Freedom Day came and went unnoticed by most Americans. However, tens of millions of Americans of traditional faith face the specter of the immense coercive power of the federal government under the Obama administration when peacefully living out their faiths.
What would President Thomas Jefferson say to President Barack Obama on that score?
Ken Klukowski is senior legal analyst for Breitbart News and on faculty at Liberty University School of Law. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.