Politicians use their words strategically and intentionally (at least when they think the mic is on). And that’s got a lot of people worried about a recent trend in the language being used by the Obama Administration regarding our freedom of religion.
It seems that Obama and co. would much rather refer to your Constitutional right to freedom of religion as simply your right to “worship.”
“Freedom of worship” first appeared in President Obama’s November remarks at the memorial service for the victims of the Fort Hood shooting. Days later, he referred to worship rather than religion in speeches in Japan and China.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton echoed the shift in language. In a December speech at Georgetown University, she used “freedom of worship” three times but “freedom of religion” not at all. While addressing senators in January, she referred to “freedom of worship” four times and “freedom of religion” once when quoting an earlier Obama speech. [source]
Although it may seem reasonable to think otherwise, the choice of words is no semantic coincidence. And it is no insignificance.
It represents an organized campaign to redefine and muddle our religious freedoms as popularly understood in the cultural narrative. And it reflects the Administration’s disdain and lack of respect for religion.
Our freedom of religion is not just a freedom to worship - but the freedom to practice.
See, practicing a religion is not just something we do in a worship service on Sunday. It’s not a string of trivial ceremonies we do out of respect for our culture or family tradition. It’s not something that is (reasonably) done half-way. It’s something that permeates every aspect of our lives. It effects how we run our businesses, hospitals, charities and organizations. It effects what we will and will not do in our employment. It effects our local communities, civil laws and political positions. It effects what we say, what we buy, what kinds of behavior are acceptable and healthy, how our children are educated and how we engage in the public debate to control all of these things. It effects everything.
The idea that we can separate the role our religion plays in all of these things is ignorant nonsense. Yet, that is precisely what Obama and his ilk expect you to do.
Many people at this point will disagree with me and insist on a “separation of Church and State.” First, these people have a fundamental misunderstanding of what is meant by the “separation of Church and State.” Second, every communal or collective aspect of society involves competing interests. My interests (religiously motivated or not) are just as valid as anybody else’s. It’s illogical absurdity that a point of view backed up by thousands of years of reasoned wisdom is confined to private “worship” and unwelcome at the public table, but the drivel of a malformed conscience fueled by self-absorption and a sensationalist media is just one of the many wonderfully diverse inputs.
Anyway, Chuck Colson sums up the latest hooey in a new video:
Matthew Warner is the founder and CEO of Flocknote.com, an innovative communication tool helping thousands of churches and dioceses better connect with their flocks. He also blogs (MatthewWarner.me), is one of the founders and speakers of the Digital Church Conference, and is author of the book Messy and Foolish: How to Make a Mess, Be a Fool and Evangelize the World (messyandfoolish.com).
Matt has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M and an M.B.A. in Entrepreneurship. He, his wife and his five children hang their hats in Texas.