Speak Out With Chuck - Freedom of Religion

Has the Obama Administration changed its tune?

Chuck Colson's September 01, 2010 BreakPoint broadcast raises the question: Is the Obama Administration changing its tune? - So now it's "Freedom of Religion?"

Chuck asked you, the listeners, to come to this post and give us your opinion and comments.

Please  post your Speak Out comments below and return to read what others are saying. The most recent comments are at the top.

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Freedom of Religion/Worship
I have not been persuaded by your parsing of the differences between freedom of religion and worship. The following article by Judd Birdsall gives a more objective perspective on this issue that I find most helpful http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2012/februaryweb-only/santorum-freedom-of-worship.html?start=2

Mike Moyer
Freedom of Religion
Hi Mr.Colson,
I do not have the smarts or education to comment on the issue, but this I know. When we start splitting hairs on wording, it's often when the devil is trying very subtly to change things just enough for us not to notice. It's the large bait and the tiny little hook story. It is strange that Mrs. Clinton's husband did just that. What is is I think was the use of words there, and we know what the outcome was there. Personally I think this is just another way Mr.Obama wants everyone to buy into his ideals, the problem is that Islam's radical followers will not. They have an agenda, and they are working very hard at achieving their goals. How long will it be before we make rules to protect their way of life, which contradicts ours.

My name is Michael Salman and live in Phoenix Arizona. I was found guilty for violating 67 counts of zoning ordinances because I gather on my property with my family and friends every Sunday and worship. Private Worship and the City violated me stating that i have to conform to commercial standards. We are trying to get help to file a federal lawsuit. Folks if this type of persecution is happening already here in America what else can happen. I am confused about what people call FREEDOM these days. So sad. I guess they want to tell us when they can interfere and when we can't.
Freedom of worship
It seems to me that the difference in freedom of religion and freedom of worship is the difference in the freedom of speech and the freedom of thought. We all have the freedom of thought, but our freedom of speech is constitutional, not a right decreed by the nations of the world. Freedom of thought is a private enterprise as is the freedom of worship. The freedom of religion is a public endeavor as is the freedom of speech.
Cut to the Chase
The President and his team simply need to answer two questions, in my view:

1. When they use "worship" and "religion," do they use them interchangeably? (and if not, how do they distinguish them)

2. If they truly believe in this/these freedoms, will they acknowledge that things like abortion, same-sex marriage, embryonic stem cell science, etc. can certainly run afoul of certain religious groups' core beliefs and, as such, there should be no repercussions should members of those groups refuse to participate in these activities? Otherwise, there really isn't freedom of religion after all.
You should know that statements coming from an administration of avowed relativists are relative. To clarify - It's freedom of worship for Christians and freedom of religion for Muslims. I read an article today at http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/2721
It's about time these things are finally being said but I feel even more radical than just discriminating between their "religion" and their law. To me calling a philosophy that teaches among other things that it's good to enslave and brutalize women and kill the infidel (you and me) a "religion" just because they believe in a God which in turn has the government sanctioning it, is a semantic nightmare from Hell that we're only beginning to experience. The 1st amendment reference to "religion" referred to Christian denominations as is clear from history and reading the previous drafts. At the time 96+% of the people were protestants. While Christianity has tolerance for other religions it shouldn't be misconstrued to take on the modern day understanding whereby equal validity is placed on all - even the most absurd and socially destructive doctrines. The only form of Islam that should be tolerated are those that disavow any and all adherence to any doctrine that is incompatible with a Judeo-Christian worldview. Why?- because that is what our country was founded on and what brought us to preeminence in the world. That is foundational to who and what we are as Americans. Anything outside that worldview should be properly catagorized as anything but a "religion" as intended by the authors of the 1st amendment.
chuck_speakout_182_250 Chuck Colson's Response to below: Added 9/10/10:
Note: Chuck responds to select comments on "Speak Out"
Usually 3-10 days after the comments are opened.

To Jordan Bradish (September 02, 2010 11:45 AM)

Thanks very much for your comment on the term ‘freedom of worship.’ I frankly hadn’t thought about it as the all-inclusive way to appeal to a postmodern culture in which many people have do-it-yourself God kits. Religion literally, from the Latin religiare, means to bind together, and binding together is not something that appeals to the postmodern world.

So you’ve raised a very interesting point. I’m not sure that the administration’s thinking is quite that sophisticated at this point. My own hunch is that they’re using ‘worship’ where it’s least offensive to Muslims and ‘religion’ where it shows that we will protect them the most.

The problem is that words really do have meaning. And freedom of religion was debated by the founders and was clearly understood to be free religious exercise. The words of the First Amendment are very deliberately and well chosen. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

Free exercise means putting your faith into practice, teaching your kids, evangelizing, etc. I think the President is smart enough to know that when he says freedom of worship he is limited that.

But my big worry is that people will get used to this, think it’s no big deal, and watch it come around and bite us in some future court decision.

Chuck Colson


Isn't it possible that the President is simply trying (unsuccessfully) to be all things to all people?

To use the term "freedom of worship" in relation to postmodern, western culture is merely being collectively exhaustive. That kind of vagueness is a thorough inclusion of not only organized religion, but also all types of earth based religions, or any combination of idolatrous pursuit. Trying not to offend the relativistic Boomer generation must be exhausting!

On the flip side, all good politicians know their audience and a different approach must be taken if he is to win over the Muslim world. Here, the President uses a more traditional term, “freedom of religion,” which gives credence and respect to well established, organized religion. The President knows that Muslims will not be won over by insincere western philosophies which, despite being widely held, are so inconclusive.
the administration's inconsistent remarks
chuck_speakout_182_250Chuck Colson's Response to below: Added 9/10/10:
Note: Chuck responds to select comments on "Speak Out"
Usually 3-10 days after the comments are opened.

To Bruce Hempel on September 02, 2010 11:24 AM

Thanks for trying to get clarification. I don’t think this is one issue that the administration wants clarified.

Chuck Colson

I can't say for sure why the change in language, but I did email the president after one of the earlier Breakpoint columns about this, asking him to clear up the change in terminology from "Freedom of Religion" to "Freedom of Worship". (Unfortunately, I did not get a reply that addressed my concern). His latest comments don't clear this up, but they do give some hope. At the very least we can quote his latest remarks for Muslims and say that what's sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander. So I think we need to keep contacting the White House about this issue.
Language Confusion
chuck_speakout_182_250Chuck Colson's Response to below: Added 9/10/10:
Note: Chuck responds to select comments on "Speak Out"
Usually 3-10 days after the comments are opened.

To Brad Simmons September 02, 2010 10:28 AM

I hope you’ve seen my response to Jordan Bradish. You may think of worship as your whole life, and of course everything we do with our lives we offer up to God. It is in a sense worship.

But freedom of religion is a term with profound legal significance. Believe me, these two terms are fundamentally different, as historically understood.

Chuck Colson

I'm Joe Average Conservative and I'm confused. When I think of 'worship', it's much bigger than an hour of participation in a worship service; it's a way of life! I want to live my life: work, act, & participate in activities that tell God that he is the only one to whom I give my worth-ship. If I want to build a Church and invite others to believe as I do, is this exercising freedom of worship or freedom of religion? I think of religion as something man has built as a framework for (attempting) to understand the superhuman or supernatural. We're men, so we also live within this religion framework. This is where my confusion originates -- are these 2 terms really different?

Functional atheist
At root it appears that the only label that properly fits President Obama is "functional atheist." He seems to express neither Christian nor Islamic faith. He waffles back and forth on so many issues that, with the adroitness of a master politician, it is hard to pin him down on many issues.
At heart he fits my definition of a humanist, devoid of spiritual insight and utterly convinced that only man has the capacity to solve his most pressing problems.
What disturbs me most is that he truly believes that fawning at the feet of the Islamic world will bring peace.
He fails to see the inconsistency in his own position and is quite prepared to ignore both irrefutable evidence as well as simple truth.
By claiming that Islam is a religion of peace he ignores the terror attacks, murders, and clearly barbaric behavior that occurs in every part of the world where Islam predominates.
Worse still he refuses to speak the truth even though he has facts that refute his public utterances. We Christians know that "the truth will set us free" and that is precisely the message the Islamic world needs to hear. It is not hate speech to say that Islam is a hateful religion. It is not hate speech to say that Islamic values are anathema to both Christians and western culture.
The president's public utterances do reflect moral cowardice though his motives may seem high. He believes that by speaking words of consolation he will reduce the violence. He remembers quite well the rioting in Holland and France and believes he will avoid inciting more of the same.
What he accomplishes instead is to leave Muslims content in their delusions about their religion. By failing to speak the truth there is none of the self-examination that is so fundamental to Christianity. Only when Muslims come to see themselves as Christ sees them will they start to question their religion and begin the journey to finding "the peace that passes all understanding."
With all that said the president is clearly opposed to true religious freedom. His support of abortion, his attempts to stifle free speech about the dangers of homosexuality, his contempt for public prayer, and his rejection of our fundamental Christian approach to governing are the clues to his world view. He rejects our American heritage which has Christ as the bedrock and the scriptures as core of our laws and moral compass.
Freedom of Religion
Thanks for asking Chuck. I am reading a small booklet from the Freedom Center by David Horowitz, the former "radical", entitled Rules for Radicals. He writes, from experience, about Saul Alinsky and his philosophy of political operation. Barack Obama was weaned on Alinsky's principles. One central tenet for Alinsky is deception; "...the radical's most important weapon..." (p.23). Alinsky, according to Horowitz, writes that a key strategy is to "work within the system until you accumulate enough power to destroy it" and "... don't confront the system as an opposing army; join it and undermine it from within" (p.29).

If Horowitz is right on with his research into Obama's background and philosophy, then we are seeing that philosophy in action in the matter at hand: language is being "used" in any way necessary to deceive in order to pacify the masses while a disguised agenda is being facilitated.

In other words, this use of language is no accident, but is an intentional tactic in a strategy with devious ends in mind.

Your Thoughts?
Freedom of Religion/Worship
You asked what I thought the President's and Sec of State's intents were re: subject. I think the President may be preparing us for dhimmitude. If not that, he is at least working on deconstructing the United States of America. Not that he is alone - both parties are complicit, neither are guiltless, but he is leading the effort. Very ably, I think. Sec of State Clinton is quite involved as well, I feel, because she likes power, and the burgeoning federal govt. assures that those with influence in the two major parties will have greater and greater power as we transition from a constitutional republic to a socialist (totalitarian) state.
The appeasement of double-speak
chuck_speakout_182_250Chuck Colson's Response to below: Added 9/10/10:
Note: Chuck responds to select comments on "Speak Out"
Usually 3-10 days after the comments are opened.

To Gilbert Torres September 02, 2010 1:48 AM

You have obviously thought this through very carefully.  I think there’s a very strong basis for believing that much of this is designed, I wouldn’t say necessarily to appease Islam, but to placate it, to try to assuage their fears of the ‘great Satan.’  The President grew up as a Muslim child in a Muslim ghetto outside of Indonesia, so he’s well aware, whatever his convictions today, that America is despised in much of the Muslim world.  I think he’s trying, like any good politician, to be liked.  The problem is, from my perspective, that we are misleading the Islamic world.  And the possible kick-back on us of playing with these words can be very dangerous, very serious.

Chuck Colson

I do not believe the ensuing confusion and double-speak between Freedom of Worship and Freedom of Religion by the administration are necessarily intentional. Yes, President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton are skilled lawyers. However, being eloquent and skilled in law does not make a professing Christian necessarily knowledgeable in his own faith.

I have listened several times to then-Senator Obama speak extensively on faith. I believe the switch in terminology to Freedom of Religion is very much in keeping with his campaign faith message. It was a message of diluting generalizations and a barrage of questions. Questions, for example, such as whose Christianity would America follow were there only Christians living in America: Al Sharpton's, James Dobson's, Leviticus or the Sermon on the Mount? This popular tactic of throwing a barrage of questions often produces the desired effect to impress and dazzle the listener that the questioner must surely understand these things and must surely be knowledgeable. I have it said before. I mean no disrespect or disparagement to President Obama, but I do not believe he, particularly after viewing those videos and his eloquence notwithstanding, has a very solid grasp of his faith per the scriptures. That's not a disgrace, but it bears understanding.

I believe the administration's intended effect in the use of Freedom of Religion is appeasement of Muslim Arab regimes. This appeasement factor seems harmless enough when fed one spoonful at a time. The Muslim Arab regimes are appeased. I doubt the use of the code phrase escaped them (they too have lawyers) especially if they were alerted to listen for it in the President's message. Lest we forget the effectiveness of appeasement by one spoonful at a time: This is how Americans who objected and protested against the practice, embrace and legalization of homosexuality were appeased. They were reassured, sometimes a bit more militantly, sex between the consenting behind closed doors was nobody's business anyway. We now see how far that appeasement of what was once behind closed door has become an open-air spectacle in America.

Actually, this new message by the administration is more of a capitulation than appeasement. Personally, I am neither troubled nor upset by Muslims in America nor Islam in general. My personally faith and conviction in Jesus as Lord and the Spirit who indwells me empower me to interact and engage in discourse as I am given the opportunity. However, in the absence of a faith and conviction grounded on scripture and not eloquence the language of appeasement and other diluted generalizations of faith is the recourse of the Obama administration and countless individuals.
The Obama Administration's freedom of ?????
chuck_speakout_182_250Chuck Colson's Response to below: Added 9/10/10:
Note: Chuck responds to select comments on "Speak Out"
Usually 3-10 days after the comments are opened.

To Paul Tiderman on September 01, 2010 11:41 PM

Of course Satan is behind the rise of evil.  He is the prince of darkness, reigning in this world.  He has been defeated by the cross, but we’re still engaged in a clean-up operation.  So you have to recognize that he’s not going to leave us alone.  And one of his great techniques is deception.

Thanks not only for signing the Manhattan Declaration but for praying regularly.

Chuck Colson
Dear Brother Chuck,

It seems obvious to me that there is at the very least a fourth possibility for the reason(s) behind the current administration to "change its tune" regarding freedom of religion and/or worship. I believe, and I am fairly confident that you do, too, that Satan is alive and well on planet earth. And, that while he still enjoys the "freedom" God has granted to him, he does everything in his power to undermine the kingdom of God, along with every one of its efforts, principles, and its members. Also, he will continue to do so for as long as he is permitted to. And it further seems obvious to me that President Obama and practically every one of his "administrators" is under the influence of (at best), or possibly even possessed by (at worst) the prince of this world and/or his underlings. Hence, as long as Islam is allowed to flourish all around this world (along with every other false religion, ideology and movement) the better Satan likes it. But, he just can't stand for true faith in God (Christianity) to make headway by being “salt and light” or to continue one more day. I am not one of those believers who perceive demons behind every bush, Chuck. But it certainly cannot be denied that God’s Word (The Bible) teaches that we do have an enemy who is actively opposing the kingdom of God and seeks opportunity to “devour” whomever he can. After all, in my bible the world is not supposed to get better for Christians, or anyone else for that matter.

Please allow me to clarify a little bit: Let’s see…How can I put this? I am not sure if I have agreed with one single idea, decision, or action taken, by this administration since it has taken power. In addition, the Judicial and Legislative branches seem to be marching to the very same tune. To be fair, I do not follow the news media very closely. You see, I usually get pretty upset whenever I attempt to partake of our secular mainstream media sources. Therefore, I have chosen not to participate in that endeavor. I do, however, do my best to follow the Christian news sources every day. This includes BreakPoint, Two-Minute Warning, SRN Radio News, CitizenLink, Family News in Focus, as well as numerous radio programs, and the like. Thus, I suppose I am relatively unaware of much of what is being reported to many peoples of the world. But I just cannot stand listening to lies, lies, and more lies. It makes me feel bad.

So, that is my theory, Chuck - The devil is behind the scenes acting as a sort of “puppet-master.” Please let me know what you think. And, Chuck, I really wish to thank you for all you do for the cause of Christ. Hang in there, Brother!

P.S. I have signed the Manhattan Declaration and have made a commitment to pray for our once-great nation for the next 40 days (starting today).
nation for the next 40 days (starting today).
Religion vs. Worship Local
chuck_speakout_182_250Chuck Colson's Response to below: Added 9/10/10:
Note: Chuck responds to select comments on "Speak Out"
Usually 3-10 days after the comments are opened.

To Jason Eoff on September 01, 2010 11:31 PM

It’s been 35 years since I practiced law.  So I’m not sure I would be much of an authority on Texas law, and certainly not on divorce issues.  I was under the impression, just as Tony Evans apparently is, that no-fault divorce is available just about anywhere.  Telling me that you couldn’t get a divorce, particularly when there are grounds, I find astonishing.

I’m not sure I quite understand what’s happened.  If you have been given a divorce without grounds, you are still justified before God if the grounds actually were adultery.  You don’t need a court decree to prove to God what has happened.  So I’m not sure that it matters to you.  If you have been denied a divorce even though adultery has been, as you put it, clearly established, then that’s a wholly different matter.  I can’t conceive of a judge doing that, nor can I conceive of it standing up on appeal.

I don’t agree with divorce, and I’m particularly grieved by what it does to children.  I know about this first-hand.  So I would sympathize with the judge’s statement.  But the law is the law.  You can forward this to your website if you like.  I really don’t enough about the case to make a very informed comment.

Chuck Colson

Mr. Chuck Colson,
I've been following your commentary regarding the current administrations attempts to redefine Religious Freedom in America with the inadequate verbiage Freedom of Worship. It is my opinion that the President, clearly a muslim sympathizer, is attempting to burn the candle at both ends. He wants to reassure the Muslim middle east that America is not involved to take away their culture and religion. American interest in the middle east involves democracy and capitalism. This is not such a difficult task with a name like Obama, however it is a little more difficult when speaking out of the side of your mouth to American Christians.
Clearly this is a challenge to the Constitutional Rights of Freedom of Religion. It is not reassuring to American Christians to demote our God given rights to that of simple worship. One may worship anything and anywhere - animal, vegetable or mineral. But the fact remains that the United States of America was formed by the blessing of Jesus Christ to his devoted followers we now refer to as "founding fathers". Not only does the muslim world need to be reminded of this fact but unfortunately every American needs to be reminded. I pray that this challenge to our Religious Freedom will result in revival and accountability to the Presidency, the Secretary of State and the party that they represent.

On a personal note, I have been involved in a divorce and custody suit in Collin County, Texas. Although clear, unarguable evidence and a deposed confession regarding adultery in the marriage by my spouse was presented, I was denied a divorce based on adultery. I argued to the court that I required a divorce based on adultery as practice to my religious faith Mat. 19:9. Judge Chris Oldner, Republican of the 416th District Court in Collin County, Texas (under a unique and little known court structure called the Office of Court Administration) denied my request for a divorce based on adultery. He stated that it was "not in the best interest of the children" and "that was between me and my god." Not only do I feel that my rights of religious freedom were denied and dismissed by the judicial system, my right to perpetuate my Christian beliefs to my children was also devalued. Dallas, Texas Baptist minister Dr. Tony Evans states that this country is "defining deviancy down" with "no fault" divorce decrees. It occurs to me that this Freedom of Worship ideology has crossed party lines and is now firmly rooted in local governments deep inside the bible belt of this nation. Where do we as main-line Christians go to protest this? How long will it take before it reaches the Supreme Court?

What is your opinion of courts in America that clearly defy the obvious constitutional rights of Christians? It would mean a great deal if you could post a comment to my readers at www.OCAParents@groups.live.com.

Signer of the Manhattan Declaration,
Jayson E. Eoff
Religion vs. Worship
Oh, I think he knows very well what he's doing and what the difference is between the two - after all, he has surrounded himself with a great cloud of.......lawyers. :-)
Freedom of religion
chuck_speakout_182_250Chuck Colson's Response to below: Added 9/13/10:
Note: Chuck responds to select comments on "Speak Out"
Usually 3-10 days after the comments are opened.

To Harlan Brown on September 01, 2010 10:25 PM

There is a double standard, no question.  Islam wants freedom of religion for their mosques here, but they will not grant freedom of religion to people of other faiths in Muslim countries.  Hindus and Buddhists are often in a very similar position. 
Chuck Colson

Obama's "religious freedom" statement was in the context of freedom for Muslims. The "freedom of worship" statements that I am aware of applied to Americans in general. If a double standard is intended, it is not his first time supporting such. He supported and VP Biden openly promoted Kenya's recently passed new constitution that implements portions of Sharia law only for Muslims in Kenya. (See "Vote on US-backed Kenyan constitution provides referendum on abortion and sharia" at http://www.aipnews.com/talk/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=16020.) Toss the idea of equal justice for all.
The Sinister Religion
To understand why President Obama says what he does, one must understand the core tenets of Islam. They are clearly stated in the short video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ib9rofXQl6w&feature=player_embedded
The rhetoric is confusing to us - but not to those who understand what Islam teaches.
Freedom of Religion
A question looms large in my thinking. WHY DO NOT THE LEADERS OF THE MUSLIM, HINDU AND BUDDHIST AND OTHER RELIGIONS IN NORTH AMERICA speak out against the harassment, persecution and killing of Christians by their coreligionists in their homelands?

When will Christians in those homelands enjoy the same freedom to propagate their religion as Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and others have to propagate their religion in North America?
Administration is fine tuning
Just as you fine tune your radio to get the best reception, I think the recent administration is doing just that with their phraseology. Though I have no way of knowing---it's all just guesswork--I'm inclined to think the deliberate phrase change has been due to the notice of public opinion. I'm sure Obama, Clinton, etc are aware of the stir the phrase "freedom of worship" has caused.......
But, it is fascinating that the President spoke the phrase "freedom of religion" to an Islamic group concerning the mosque at Ground Zero. I do not want jump to conclusions, but it's almost a portrait of the President speaking to Muslims and saying, "You are free to do as much as you please with your religion publicly." And yes, it looks like a free toss to the Islamic nations out there who have no qualms about the number of innocent Christians and other non-Muslims persecuted--even murdered--within their borders every year.

If Obama had spoken to a Christian group even once in encouraging them to use their God-given religious freedom, I'd feel very differently about this. As it is, the administration has been sending a very bad message to American Christians....to say them that they almost don't officially count as full government-acting players.
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