OBAMA’S WAR ON RELIGIOUS FREEDOM – In the last Chairman’s Report, I detailed the efforts of President Obama to disband or diminish the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. In the end his man in the Senate, Senator Dick Durbin, added language that purged all conservative members from the USCIRF and prohibited travel to areas where religious freedom is most in danger, such as the Sudan.
With that victory against international religious freedom, President Obama was emboldened to attack religious freedom directly here in the United States. During the push for Obama Care he and his allies promised that they would honor “freedom of conscience,” meaning that no one would be forced to participate in abortions, and religious organizations would not be forced to pay for abortions or contraception if against their beliefs and principles.
Ultra pro-abortion Secretary of Health and Human Services (and professed Catholic) Kathleen Sebelius announced on January 20th that the mandate requiring all insurance plans to pay for contraception, sterilization and some abortion drugs is official, and that all religious organization will be required to pay for those services.
President Obama, in a meeting with New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan last year, promised that the Catholic Church would have a freedom of conscience exemption. He lied. On the January 20th he actually called the Archbishop to tell him he had lied and that the Church would be forced to pay for abortion drugs such as the “morning after” pill. As a fig-leaf, Obama told Dolan he would issue an exemption for religious groups for one year. Dolan, who is a Cardinal-designate, responded by saying “In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences.”
After one year, insurance premiums paid by religious organizations, including premiums paid by for employees of churches and church schools, will be used to cover drugs and procedures that are in direct conflict with Catholic teachings. This is not just an issue for the Catholic Church, of course. Conservative Jewish and Protestant groups who are against all or some of these provisions will be forced to participate as well.
Richard Land, president of the Nashville-based Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, stated: “This is bad news for freedom of conscience and for respect for the freedom of religion protections guaranteed in the American Constitution. Secretary Sebelius is stating that people who have religious convictions against contraceptives or particular types of contraceptives that are abortifacients will have a one-year reprieve before they will be forced to pay for health insurance for that which they find unconscionable.”
Modern Popes don’t normally get involved in domestic affairs, but Pope Benedict XVI cited “grave threats” to the freedom of the Church in America, and urged the Catholic community to respond, especially with “an engaged, articulate and well-formed Catholic laity.”
Like all liberals, President Obama believes that all women favor abortion and that siding with the mega abortion corporation, Planned Parenthood, will assure his reelection. Most mainline Protestant church members agree with the Catholics Church’s position, but their leaders don’t seem to want involved. It appears that the Catholic Church stands mostly alone with Evangelical leaders in this fight, which I find extremely strange because this edict threatens every religious body in the nation. Will the next edict be that a certain percentage of church employees must be homosexual?
COURT DEFEAT FOR OBAMA ON RELIGIOUS FREEDOM - From his first day in office Barack Obama has been working against religious liberty. His Justice Department, run by racial and religious bigot Eric Holder, has attacked churches on numerous fronts. Recently, the Justice Department attempted to defend the unconstitutional actions of the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) against a Christian School.
In a unanimous nine to zero decision the Supreme Court told Obama, his Justice Department and the EEOC that his administration could not take over the internal employment practices of church organizations. The matter before the Supreme Court centered on an EEOC lawsuit against a Lutheran school. The Obama Administration contended employees of churches are no different than employees of a convenience store, and thus subject to all government regulations. This of course ties in to the previous article on forcing religious organizations to provide contraception, sterilization and abortion related drugs to employees. The Supreme Court should apply this same standard to Obama Care when that case reaches the Court.
OBAMA SAYS PIPELINE TOO DANGEROUS – We have all seen those haunting photos of starving kids in Africa that organizations such as Feed the Children use to raise money. Try to picture American kids looking like that. Most African poverty, indeed most poverty in the world is caused by a lack of cheap energy. In nations with starvation there is no power to drill water wells, no power to transport what water that does exist, no diesel for farming tractors, no gas for cooking, and no electricity to refrigerate and store food.
An energy poor nation is a starving nation. By refusing to meet the energy needs of the American people, President Barack Obama and his leftist supporters are pointing the nation toward poverty and starvation. Obama’s refusal to increase Canadian oil imports by denying a permit for the Keystone pipeline is an epoch disaster for the American people.
Despite the fact that North America has more oil and natural gas reserves than anywhere in the world, we continue to send billions of dollars a year for oil to nations such as Saudi Arabia that repress the rights of religious minorities. Billions of our oil dollars also go to Venezuelan strong man Hugo Chavez who is also attacking the church and repressing free religious expression. Allowing America to become energy independent again is not just about economics; it means we stop funding nations that hate us and repress religious freedom. The Saudis that flew the aircraft during the 9-11 Jihad attack on our nation were financed with Saudi oil money.
HAMAS SALUTE TO OBAMA’S ARAB SPRING - Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of the Palestinian Authority declared that the Muslim revolutions born out of the “Arab Spring” supported by Barack Obama would replace “U.S.-backed chaos” in the Middle East.
“We are among those who will create a new Middle East. We have created a glorious revolution that will bring back the nation and its glory in place of the chaos that the American administration had so desired,” Haniyeh said in a speech at the government palace in Tunis. Tens of thousands of Tunisians gathered outside the palatial government complex to see Haniyeh speak, chanting in support of “Palestinian liberation.”
Barack Obama continues to promote the destruction of secular governments in the Middle East, while Christians continue to be endangered as a result. In Egypt the Islamist parties have now won 75% of the vote, which signifies the end of women’s rights in that nation and the continued persecution of Christians. The Obama Administration congratulated the Muslim Brotherhood on their victories. (See International)
WHAT A CONTRAST -While President Obama and his campaign is championing class warfare and central planning, one presidential candidate is telling Americans that rights come from God and not from government. During the most recent presidential debate in Florida, former Senator Rick Santorum received thunderous applause when he reminded the audience that our rights come from God but in Obama’s view our rights come from government which means they can be taken away by government. See on Youtube
FORMER CONGRESSMAN JAILED - Former Congressman Mark Siljander (R-MI), with whom I and others traveled on a fact finding mission to the Sudan in October of 2006, has been sentenced to one year in jail. Siljander had accepted funds from a group associated with terror organizations and acted for them as a lobbyist to end sanctions on the Sudan. I have known Mark for decades and it was clear to me that he was not aware of the terror association. Rather, he was blinded by the belief that Christianity and Islam are somehow comparable and he was easily manipulated by the Islamic handlers assigned to him.
During the fact finding trip to the Sudan in 2006, both Gov. David Beasley and I debated Mark Siljander and the strange idea he had that Islam and Christianity shared a common ground and could co-exist peaceably. Eventually he wrote a book titled A Deadly Misunderstanding: A Congressman’s Quest to Bridge the Muslim-Christian Divide that attempted to justify his faulty logic. He became so lost in this bizarre theology that it has now cost him his freedom.
BLASPHEMY COMES TO EGYPT - It is common in many majority Muslim nations for Christians to be unfairly accused of blasphemy and jailed. Many Christians including Asia Bibi, whom I have written about numerous times, are rotting in Pakistani jails because of blasphemy charges, but this had not been the case in more secular Arab nations such as Egypt and Turkey — until now. Islamists have new powers in these nations, with the support of President Obama and European leaders. The Arab Spring has brought forth an Islamist Fall.
An Egyptian liberal secular leader, Naguib Sawiris, one of Egypt’s richest men, is to be put on trial for insulting religion because of cartoons he Twitted showing Mickey and Minnie Mouse in Muslim clothing. Sawiris is one of the very few Christians in Egypt with money; most are poor and repressed. He is also the leader of one of the few secular political parties left. He faces jail and probably the loss of his wealth for showing the image of Mickey and Minnie Mouse in Muslim dress.
EXTREME EGYPT – The charges of blasphemy against Naguib Sawiris are just the beginning of the woes for the Christians of Egypt. The final round of elections for Parliament was held in Egypt this month, and the final results are in. The Islamic extremists have won 75% of the seats in the new parliament. Previously the religious parties such as the Muslim Brotherhood were outlawed, and for good reasons. President Barack Obama led the charge to have the secular governments replaced during the “Arab Spring” that was supposed to bring freedom. What it may well bring is the total elimination of rights for women, and religious police to enforce Sharia law upon everyone, including Christians.
The Obama Administration’s reaction to the extremist Islamists taking over the Egyptian parliament is predictable. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has opened a “dialog” with the Muslim Brotherhood. The lines of communication should not be difficult to develop, since her chief aide, Huma Abedin, has ties to that group. Huma is also the wife of disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner, who is Jewish. This sounds odd, unless you have a liberal mind.
DEATH TOLL RISES IN NIGERIA – The death toll following coordinated bomb attacks by the Boko Haram in Kano, Nigeria on January 20 and 21st was officially at least 164 as of this writing, but some bodies were still in the streets. Kano is mainly Muslim and the largest city in the north. The Islamic terror group Boko Haram claimed responsibility, saying the attacks were in reprisal for the government’s refusal to release terrorists held in jail. Police and Christians were the main targets, as Islamic violence sends the nation into a state of chaos. In this attack both Christians and Muslims were killed. Up to that point in January, more than 200 Christians were targeted and killed by the Boko Haram at churches and other gathering places.
BOKO HARAM NOT A PROBLEM? - The Boko Haram has killed thousands of Christians in the last year in the name of Islam, yet a liberal New York professor says that in Nigeria the Boko Haram “is not a problem.” In a New York Times Op-ed, Jean Herskovits, a professor of history at the State University of New York, says that those who are bombing churches and killing Christians are merely criminal gangs misusing the good name of the terror group. She further claims that the Boko Haram, which is an offshoot of Al-Qaeda, was a “peaceable” Muslim organization when founded in 2002, and did not turn to any form of violence until its leader was killed in 2009 by security forces.
Although willing to print her articles, the New York Times fails to mention that Herskovits has served in lucrative positions associated with Nigerian Islamic billionaire T.Y Danjuma. The New York Times has no problem with mass killing of Christians, but does have concerns about the killing of seals in Antarctica.
FAR TOO MUCH TO REPORT – It would take me at least twenty pages to report all of the deadly attacks by Muslims on Christians, Hindus, Jews, and Buddhists so far in January. Our staff reads reports from newspapers all over the world, but most acts of Muslim violence are never reported anywhere. A lot of the deadly violence is not that of Islamic terrorists but of Islamic governments, such as those in Pakistan and Iran. Please continue to pray for divine protection and safety for our Christian brothers and sisters around the world.
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William J. Murray, Chairman
Religious Freedom Coalition, 601 Pennsylvania Ave, NW #900 , Washington, DC 20004 * (202) 742-8990