Obama Doesn't Understand His Country; Religious Freedom Ideal Must Include Our History

Article excerpt

Byline: Monte Kuligowski, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

His handlers warned him about expressing his opinion on the proposed mosque two blocks from the former Twin Towers. But as with the professor Henry Gates issue, Mr. Obama just couldn't help himself. Regarding the Massachusetts matter, Mr. Obama blurted out that the Cambridge police acted stupidly. This time, we may infer that Americans opposing the mosque are acting stupidly, or at least contrary to America's values and principles of religious freedom.

The problem is that Mr. Obama, as an ideological alien, does not have a clue about the essence of America's Judeo-Christian founding. Before getting into why that terrible anti-Obama statement is made, let's look at Mr. Obama's mosque statements. His statements below were delivered recently to a Muslim audience at a White House Ramadan iftar dinner:

But let me be clear: As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country. And that includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in Lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country, and that they will not be treated differently by their government, is essential to who we are. The writ of our Founders must endure.

The writ of our Founders? In the iftar dinner speech, Mr. Obama presumes to know what our Founders understood, as relating to religious freedom. Mr. Obama cites Thomas Jefferson and quotes the Virginia Act for Establishing Religious Freedom, in part that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion.

I wonder if Mr. Obama knows the context of the Virginia Act and Thomas Jefferson's reasoning? The act prohibits the commonwealth of Virginia from compelling attendance at religious worship and financial support of religion. Significantly, in making his argument, Jefferson does not appeal to vague principles of religious freedom and our values, as Mr. Obama does.

While Mr. Obama appeals to fuzzy notions that could never support religious freedom, Jefferson appeals to Virginia's common Christian faith. Shockingly to the postmodern reader, Jefferson in the Virginia Act points to the Lord of Virginia's religion as an example for why the state should not be involved in compelling worship:

State compulsions in matters of religion tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of our religion, who being Lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions. ..

Notice that Jefferson refers to the Holy Author of our religion That's quite a statement. Virginia had a common religion (until the U.S. Supreme Court illegally broke the chain of transmission in the public schools) and the Founders referred to the common religion of the states as general Christianity. …