In the last few years, US President Barack Obama has gone to great lengths to implement his vision of a sexual revolution for all America, and indeed for the world. His actions to bring about this revolution involve a variety of attacks on religious freedom across the country and have since been extended to foreign countries by means of American embassies worldwide which now manipulate American foreign aid to browbeat Third World countries into complying with America’s sexual policies. It is useful to note how this revolution has been unfolding.
From the very start of Obama’s presidency there was little doubt in which direction it would move. Within an hour of taking the oath of office as president, the presidential website reflected the switch from pro-life to pro-abortion. It rescinded the Mexico City Policy instituted by President Reagan in the 1980s and supported by the two Bush administrations. This blocked US foreign aid funding for any organization that provided abortion services, or counselling, or referrals, or information on abortion.
During the next two months the website listed the names of hundreds of staff appointed to the president’s inner circle, all of them drawn from known pro-abortion, pro-feminist, or anti-marriage circles. Appointees for other positions such as judges followed the same pattern. A new president has to fill some 5,000 positions in the first few months of his presidency.
Then in the beginning of 2009, in an address at the Catholic University of Notre Dame, Obama called for dialogue and give-and-take among the opposing groups. He said: “So let’s work together to reduce the number of women seeking abortions by reducing unintended pregnancies.” Later on he added, “Let’s honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion and draft a sensible conscience clause.” The only conscience clause that ever came into play came in the spring of 2012 as an unacceptable exemption from the HHS Mandate Obama had just imposed on the nation. This mandate provided full funding for contraceptives and abortifacients.
In recent years, there has been an ongoing pattern of disrespect for religious liberty. Religious values are an impediment to Obama’s agenda. From his dramatic reversal of his previously-stated belief in traditional marriage to the federal government’s aggressive contraception mandate, Obama will stop at nothing to ensure that the sexual revolution conquers America.
Obama announced his personal support for same-sex “marriage” on 9 May 2012. On 14 May he stated that gay couples should have the right to marry, saying that the country did not go wrong when it “expanded rights and responsibilities to everybody … that doesn’t weaken families, that strengthens families.” These words were spoken at a fundraiser hosted by the LGBT Leadership Council whom he had addressed years earlier, then promising his support for their cause. In May, however, Obama claimed that his “beliefs” had “evolved” from his days as an Illinois Senator.
In the past, Obama indicated that he supported marriage between one man and one woman. He has also stated that he is a Christian, but this is now clearly debatable. His actions have shown otherwise. His support for abortion rights and his attacks on marriage reflect the views of an unbeliever, not of a follower of Jesus Christ. Sitting at the feet of “Reverend” Wright, a self-appointed minister who specializes in vehement racist denunciations, does not qualify one as a Christian.
Obama has admitted that same-sex “marriage” is an issue that is still in the hands of individual states, 32 of which have passed amendments rejecting the idea with solid majorities. However, he might be hoping that his proclamation of the “evolution” of his personal beliefs could sway an easily influenced section of the American public to embrace a similar, radical evolution of beliefs. If Obama as a self-proclaimed “Christian” of vague beliefs can accept same-sex “marriage,” then he may expect that others do the same.
Another attack on the Catholic Church and on the pro-life cause occurred in 2011 when the Obama Administration revoked a grant to US bishops because they would not make abortion referrals to victims of sex-trafficking. The bishops have appealed the ruling issued by a federal judge.
The sacrifice of religious freedom in favour of Obama’s sexual revolution has also resulted from the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. This policy, which prohibited discrimination of closeted homosexuals but banned openly gay citizens from military service, was repealed on 20 September 2011. It was something that Obama had planned to do since his 2008 election campaign. As a result of this repeal, high-level military chaplains report they are increasingly being denied freedom of conscience and freedom of speech. The repeal would make it impossible for chaplains whose faith teaches that same-sex behaviour is immoral to minister to military service members.
At the National Religious Freedom Conference held on March 24, 2012 in Washington, D.C., panelists agreed that the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and other policies have made it difficult, if not a punishable offence, for military chaplains to read passages of Leviticus, pray aloud in the name of God at a soldier’s funeral, or preside over traditional services. When a military chaplain asked for his chapel to be considered “sacred space” and not used to officiate same-sex “marriages,” he was told his chapel was to be “sexual neutral territory.” This is just one of many examples of how this repeal is stifling religious freedom.
What has been perhaps one of the most powerful ways in which Obama has attempted to further his sexual agenda and consequently eradicate religious freedom is through the introduction of the HHS Mandate. Obama wants to force religious institutions to cooperate and limit religious freedom to very distinct religious groups or structures. The mandate, which was finalized on 12 February 2012 and went into effect on 1 August of the same year, will force employers to provide free insurance coverage for contraceptives, sterilization, and abortifacients.
The Obama Administration made concessions for religious groups, but both the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the Catholic Health Association (CHA) reject these amendments as inadequate. In the USCCB’s document United for Religious Freedom issued on 14 March, the bishops identify three basic problems with the mandate: (1) “an unwarranted government definition of religion,” (2) “a mandate to act against our teachings,” and (3) “a violation of personal civil rights.” An exemption would apply to churches or other religious institutions that serve their own denominations. However, the mandated coverage would apply to hospitals, schools, and other social service providers, all of which serve the public (not just one religious denomination). In the document Our First, Most Cherished Liberty, the bishops call for the repeal of the mandate because in their view, even a more expansive exemption would not sufficiently protect religious freedom. Accepting the mandate would allow bishops to secure religious liberty for their institutions, hut not for all their followers (i.e. Catholic business owners).
The CHA sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), stating that the government “Parses a bona fide religious organization into secular and religious components solely to impose burdens on the secular portion. To make this distinction is to create a false dichotomy between the Catholic Church and the ministries through which the Church lives out the teachings of Jesus Christ.”
By making this statement, the CHA has shown that it stands behind the bishops.
The USCCB have exposed Obama as an “enforcer.” In remarks made at a 13 June meeting, the bishops said that if they protest the HHS Mandate, they could face more government penalties, even from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). “Even though the problem we face is the state coercing the Church to violate our religious and moral convictions, we are somehow accused of forcing our beliefs on others by law.” Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the USCCB, pointed out that “We didn’t ask for this fight … but we’re not going to back away from it.” He went on to say, “Our problem is the government is intruding into the life of faith and in the Church.” It is evident that the problem was initiated by Obama.
The lack of solidarity among Catholics may make Obama’s job of enforcing the mandate easier. Obama has bought into the notion that the majority of Catholics are already supportive of contraception. Many bishops have been silent on this matter for many years and this has not gone unnoticed by either party. Catholic democrats regularly contradict Church teaching, but they are not alone. In April the US Senate voted 51-48 to table the bipartisan Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (s. 1467), sponsored by Senator Roy Blunt, R-Mo. This act would have been a good start in ensuring the protection of religious liberties. However, there were 16 Catholic Senators, two-thirds of them Republicans, who voted with the majority. So much for Catholic solidarity.
Despite the inconsistencies among Catholics, the bishops have been very vocal in pointing out the affront to religious freedom that is conveyed by this mandate. Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila of Denver pointed out that the mandate is “the result of a larger push to remove religion from the public sphere.” Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput said, “It’s not hard to imagine a time in this country when sexual and reproductive ‘rights’ will take precedence over rights of conscience and freedom of religious expression.” Sexual freedoms will trump religious freedoms in Obama’s revolution.
Peoria’s Bishop Daniel Jenky said President Obama’s attack on religious freedom through the mandate indicates he “seems intent on following a similar path” to past totalitarian dictators. While there has been controversy surrounding Jenky’s comparison of Obama’s approach to that of Hitler, the main point is that Obama’s approach is that of a dictator.
In light of Obama’s enforcement of a radical sexual revolution, it would be wise for US Catholics to heed the message of Bishop Jenky who said, “The days in which we live now require heroic Catholicism, not casual Catholicism”.