Tim Drake is an award-winning writer and former journalist and radio host with the National Catholic Register/EWTN. He currently serves as New Evangelization Coordinator for the Holdingford Area Catholic Community in the Diocese of St. Cloud, Minnesota. He resides with his wife and five children in St. Joseph, Minn.
So, in response to U.S. soldiers’ burning of the Koran at the Bagram Air Base, President Barack Obama has issued an apology.
“I wish to express my deep regret for the reported incident,” Mr. Obama said in a hand-delivered letter to President Hamid Karzai. “I extend to you and the Afghan people my sincere apologies.”
The apology is an attempt to quiet the third day of deadly protests in Afghanistan.
Would that the president’s tremendous respect for Islam extended to the beliefs and conscience-rights of Christians, especially Catholic Christians in his own country.
Carrie Severino, writing for The Daily Beast, recently used a list from the Mayo Clinic to show that Catholics are actually being abused by the president.
Compare the president’s actions with the Mayo’s indicators of abuse. Notes Severino:
•Tries to control how you spend money, where you go, what medicines you take or what you wear [HHS regulations, anyone?]
•Hits, kicks, shoves, slaps, chokes, or otherwise hurts you, your children, or your pets [the Obama administration recently gave religious groups a slap in the face by arguing that their constitutional right to freedom of religion does not include the right to choose their own ministers]
“The unwillingness to face obvious facts is characteristic of those who, sadly, return to their abusers,” writes Severino. “For example, even after the president went back on his assurances at Notre Dame that he would ‘honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion, and draft a sensible conscience clause,’ Nicholas Cafardi, dean emeritus of Duquesne University, said that ‘the Obama administration has said it wants to work with these organizations so they’re not required to violate their conscience. I’m sure they mean that in good faith.’”
There are times when Christians are called to turn the other cheek, and other times when we are required to stand and fight. Lest you wonder which response is appropriate at this present moment, it’s time to fight.
In an action nearly unprecedented in the Church in the U.S., every bishop in the country has made it very clear where the Church stands on the Health and Human Service’s mandate and the protection of religious liberty and conscience rights. Several Catholic institutions (including the media organization I work for) have filed lawsuits. What more will it take for the president and his administration to take notice?
When U.S. soldiers abuse the holy book of another faith in a foreign country, the president rightly apologizes. Yet, when the president, who has claimed that he’s using Christ as a model, not only disregards, but acts in opposition to the Bill of Rights and the faith of the single largest religious denomination in his own country, it demonstrates an obvious bias and raises serious questions. They are questions worth asking in an election year, not only by Catholics but by all people no matter their faith.