Recent executive orders from the Obama Administration are violating the first amendment and the separation of church and state.
At the time of the founding of the colonies, all European countries had state sponsored churches. At the very least, one’s taxes supported a particular church whether on not you worshiped according to that church’s doctrines. At worst, citizens were coerced to become members of the state church. Before the American revolution, some colonies had their own established state churches and persecuted those who worshiped otherwise. Our founding fathers recognized a problem.
One unique concept that rose out of the American revolution is the separation of church and state. This concept is voiced in our constitution by the first amendment. At the time, our founding fathers wanted to prevent the government from establishing a state church. The founding fathers wanted Americans to be able to worship in accordance with the dictates of their conscience. Further the founding fathers wanted the government to unhindered by dictates from the leader of any church.
Today, atheists and others, misinterpret the separation of church and state to mean that mention of God is to be eliminated from public life. While such people may feel offended by the mention of a god in which they do not believe, a believer’s right to practice their religion is infringed upon when attempts are made to remove God from the public sector. Christians are instructed by the Bible to pray without ceasing and to spread the gospel to all people. Now it is the government itself infringing on a believer’s freedom of religion.
In recent weeks, the Obama administration has demanded that Catholic organizations get involved in abortion. All medical organizations are to offer abortion services and all organizations are to offer medical insurance that includes abortion services as benefits. While these orders offend those of us who put value on life, they are particularly problematic for Roman Catholics. A basic doctrine of the Roman Catholic church is that abortion is murder and that even birth control should not be practiced by Roman Catholic couples. Apparently there is no recourse in these new regulations for those with a moral objection.
Furthermore, military chaplains have have been ordered to violate the doctrines of their respective churches. First it was orders to perform same-sex marriages. Then it was a gag order prohibiting preaching against or counseling against homosexuality. Now is a gag order prohibiting chaplains from reading a letter by Catholic bishops.
While the atheists are trying to reinterpret the doctrine of separation of church and state, the Obama administration has turned this doctrine on its head. Through these orders, the state is telling the church what to do. How can this be happening in a nation that separates church and state? In effect, the administration is attempting to set itself up as the head of all churches in the United States. The results is even worse than the state church that our founding fathers wanted to avoid.
I am not a Roman Catholic. Like them, I do follow basic Christian concepts, but I do not agree with all of the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church. Nevertheless, if we are to have freedom of religion in this country, we must allow Roman Catholics to follow the doctrines of their church. Congress and voters must force the administration to take their hands off of churches. If Roman Catholic institutions are forced to violate their doctrines, it will not be long before other churches are similarly attacked.
The legal basis of this crisis is the language found in the healthcare bill we call “Obamacare”. This crisis is made worse by the fact that Obamacare is not supported by a majority of the people and was not properly debated in Congress. During the 2008 elections, little was said about national health care programs. Certainly specifics were not debated. Voters did not go to the poles to express support for or opposition to any healthcare plan. Other issues carried the day. President Obama, however, pushed forward an oversize piece of healthcare legislation. The bill was so large, it is doubtful many people in Washington read the entire bill before it was voted on. There is reason to believe it was not properly debated and attempts to amend the bill were thwarted. The cry that went out from the speaker of the house, “Vote on this now, and we can find out what is in it later.”
Now that this bill is law, we discover that it contains many favors for interest groups who supported Obama. We also find out that there are provisions in the law that are not in the best interests of the country. It would have been more appropriate for the bill to have been carefully read, fully debated and made open to amendments that may have changed some of the unwise provisions. Part of the responsibility rests on the backs of those congressmen and senators who did not correctly discharge their constitutional duties. The immediate crisis, however, is how the administration is interpreting and carrying out the provisions of he law. The Administration has chosen to implement the law in a way that is openly damaging to the Roman Catholic Church and to those other Christian health providers who, as a matter of conscious, do not participate in abortions.
This is more than an attack on the Roman Catholic Church. Many Protestant doctors and nurses will not perform abortions as a matter of conscience. The way “Obama Care” is structured, the government is ordering all hospitals and all medical professionals to provide abortion services. My position is that it is not appropriate to order a professional in any field to perform services they oppose on moral principle. At the very least, our laws and government orders need to provide exemptions for matters of conscience. If allowed to be implemented this way, this attack on the Roman Catholic Church sets a president that can be used against other churches and any other organization that holds a principle not liked by this administration or any future administration.
It is not enough for a Christian to practice his or her religion by attending church services on Sunday. In order to be the type of Christian described in the Bible, one must live a life of faith. This means faith in Jesus must guide every phase of our life. The doctrine of separation of Church and State was originally instituted to prevent church leaders from intimidating the government into accepting the human opinions of that denomination’s leaders. Now we are entering an age where we need the doctrine of separation of church and state to prevent government leaders from trying to warp church doctrine in order to forward political agendas.
We can not enjoy freedom of religion unless Americans are allowed to exercise their religious and moral convictions free of the demands of the government.