Thursday, February 16, 2012

"Congress shall make no law...prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

A Rasmussen poll released today says that "59% of Catholics Disapprove of Obama’s Job Performance." Since the President received a majority of the Catholic vote in the last Presidential election, and since his approval dropped dramatically after the health-care mandate was ordered, Catholic perceptions of what the mandate means is probably his problem here. The report also indicates:
Sixty-one percent (61%) of Evangelical Christians and 52% of other Protestants also at least somewhat disapprove of the job Obama is doing in the White House. The view is much more positive among non-Christians. Among those who profess some other religious affiliation or none at all, 68% at least somewhat approve of the president’s performance.

Regardless of religious affiliation, disapproval is higher among those who regularly attend religious services. Among those who attend services every week or nearly every week, 41% offer their approval of the president while 59% disapprove. Among those who rarely or never attend services, 63% approve and 36% disapprove. ....
Part of the reason has to be a conviction that this is not just about public policy, but about a lack of respect for conscientious religious belief — and today's news may reinforce that impression. Mollie Hemingway on some of the testimony at today's House committee hearing about the mandate and religious liberty:
.... Witnesses include the head of my church body, the Rev. Matthew C. Harrison, president of the Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod).

Also there: Dr. Ben Mitchell of Union University, Rabbi Meir Soloveichik of Yeshiva University, Dr. Craig Mitchell of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Roman Catholic Bishop William Lori of Connecticut [link added]. ....

.... At one point, Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., suggested that the religious leaders were lying when they said they were concerned about religious liberty and called the hearing "a sham." ....

I believe that the church has much more important work to do than weighing in on politics every day. I can't emphasize how rare it is for our church to get involved. I don't know if the head of our church body has ever testified before Congress before.

And we do think this is a worthy fight. Earlier today Rep. Nancy Pelosi told reporters she believes the federal government should require the Catholic Church itself to pay for free birth control. And Rep. DeLauro claimed, in the hearing, that religious liberty doesn't extend beyond the right to worship. She basically said that so long as religious people keep their beliefs secret and private, she won't bring the boot heel of the state down on us. Why thank you! It's really amazing we're complaining at all, isn't it!

We don't want to engage in these politics, but we will if forced to. And it looks like we're being forced to.
As government grows and affects increasingly more, it becomes impossible not to engage in politics. When government provides everything it will regulate everything and there will be no space for the non-political. See "Freedoms in the Future."

A Lutheran, a Jew, a Baptist and a Catholic Walk Into A Hearing - Ricochet.com