Barack Obama is no George Washington when it comes to respecting religious freedom. Let’s compare how important Catholic and Protestant clergy have responded to both of these presidents regarding our first, most cherished American liberty.
Responses from clergy regarding Barack Obama
In his January 19, 2012 address to American Catholic Bishops, Pope Benedict XVI recognized threats to religious freedom by Obama without stating his name (the HHS mandate was announced the next day.):
“…it is imperative that the entire Catholic community in the United States come to realize the grave threats to the Church’s public moral witness presented by a radical secularism which finds increasing expression in the political and cultural spheres… Of particular concern are certain attempts being made to limit that most cherished of American freedoms, the freedom of religion.”
In an interview on February 21, 2012 Rev. Franklin Graham expressed his willingness to practice civil disobedience in the face of Barack Obama’s attack on religious freedom:
“I am very concerned, because what they tried to do to the Catholic Church in mandating contraception, I don’t believe the compromise is a true compromise. You’re still paying for it, but it’s going to be paid for now through the insurance carrier, who is then going to charge you… I think every Christian out there should be concerned that we will be forced to bring people into our organizations, and put them on our payrolls, when we know that they are opposed to everything that we believe… at that point, I would just have to break the law and take it all the way to the Supreme Court and fight it…”
In a March 2, 2012 letter to Catholic bishops, Cardinal Dolan of New York stated the following in regard to President Barack Obama’s disturbing opinions on religious freedom:
“At a recent meeting between staff of the bishops’ conference and the White House staff, our staff members asked directly whether the broader concerns of religious freedom—that is, revisiting the straight-jacketing mandates (HHS mandate requires all insurance companies to provide free contraception, including the morning-after pill and sterilizations — even to employees of religious-affiliated organizations that have a moral objection) or broadening the maligned exemption—are all off the table. They were informed that they are. So much for “working out the wrinkles.” (Obama invited them to “work out the wrinkles”) Instead, they advised the bishops’ conference that we should listen to the “enlightened” voices of accommodation, such as the recent, hardly surprising yet terribly unfortunate editorial in America (a Catholic Jesuit magazine.) The White House seems to think we bishops simply do not know or understand Catholic teaching and so, taking a cue from its own (Obama’s) definition of religious freedom, now has nominated its own handpicked official Catholic teachers.”
Responses from clergy regarding George Washington
In a 1789 letter from the Bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Bishops’ Thomas Coke and Francis Asbury (pictured) express their confidence in George Washington:
“We are conscious from the signal proofs you have already given that you are a friend of mankind; and under this established idea, place as full a confidence in your wisdom and integrity, for the preservation of those civil and religious liberties…”
In 1790 Bishop John Carroll (the first Catholic bishop and then archbishop in the United States) wrote “An Address from the Roman Catholics of America to George Washington, Esq., President of the United States” by:
“… you encourage respect for religion, and inculcate, by words and actions, that principle…”
In his January 1895 encyclical (letter,) Longinqua, Pope Leo XIII showed the great historical admiration the Catholic Church had and will always have for President George Washington:
“American colonies, having, with Catholic aid, achieved liberty and independence, coalesced into a constitutional Republic… and at the very time when the popular suffrage placed the great Washington at the helm of the Republic, the first bishop (John Carroll) was set by apostolic authority over the American Church. The well-known friendship and familiar intercourse which subsisted between these two men seems to be an evidence that the United States ought to be conjoined in concord and amity with the Catholic Church… for without morality the State cannot endure-a truth which that illustrious citizen of yours, whom We have just mentioned, with a keenness of insight worthy of his genius and statesmanship perceived and proclaimed. But the best and strongest support of morality is religion.”
From the above letters it is easy to see the comfort level with a president who will be respectful of religious freedom like George Washington versus a president who is harmful toward it like Barack Obama. President Obama has had no kind reply to people of faith about their religious freedom. Only disregard through his actions, like the HHS mandate which was born from the unjust ObamaCare law.
On the other hand, in correspondence dated March 1790, a humble President George Washington replied to Bishop John Carroll with a letter to Roman Catholics stating, among other things; “And I presume that your fellow-citizens will not forget the patriotic part which you took in the accomplishment of their Revolution, and the establishment of their government; or the important assistance which they received from a nation in which the Roman Catholic faith is professed… it shall be my constant endeavor to justify the favorable sentiments which you are pleased to express of my conduct. And may the members of your society in America, animated alone by the pure spirit of Christianity, and still conducting themselves as the faithful subjects of our free government, enjoy every temporal and spiritual felicity.”
Those are great and humble words from our first leader, who protected our first American freedom, who voluntarily stepped down as President of the United States and could have been king. Now, our forty-fourth leader, who refuses to protect our first freedom, must be made to involuntarily step down by the popular suffrage or we will have a man who will continue to act unabated against religious freedom as if he is our king.
O Holy Spirit, strengthen us to defend all that is holy.
Peter L. Hodges Sr.