A few random thoughts and ponderings to start the week...
Last week I received a comment on a previous Monday Musings installment from June. The commenter posed a question about something I had written regarding President Obama's attitude toward people of faith. The question read as follows:
When has President Obama "[shut] out religious institutions from public debate and forc[ed] faith-based organizations to comply with his secularist agenda?"
It's a valid question and it deserves a response. So I posted an answer in the comments section of that post, but I think it only fair to repost it here so that my clarification is not lost in ever-changing world of the blogosphere:
A specific example would be the HHS mandate requiring religious institutions to provide contraception coverage for employees. Religious institutions are being forced to comply with this mandate. I would characterize this mandate as "secularist" because it ignores the very religious nature of the hospitals, schools, etc. that are affected by the mandate. In effect, it forces these institutions to deny their faith and conform to a "secular" agenda. These institutions must comply or face a penalty. Anyone voicing concern that religious liberties are being violated have been ignored, or at best they are given lip-service from the Administration, telling them, "We hear your concern, but we're pushing ahead with our agenda."
So that is why I would say that the Obama has "[shut] out religious institutions from public debate and forc[ed] faith-based organizations to comply with his secularist agenda."
More generally, I would say that the Obama Administration shows it's bias against religious speech in the public sphere when they repeatedly substitute the phrase "freedom of worship" instead of "freedom of religion." The implication being that the Obama Administration views religious liberty as ONLY protecting the rights of religious people to gather in "worship," but not to exercise their religion in any other setting, especially in public debate.
I personally sense a hostility toward people of faith coming from the Democratic Party in general and specifically this President. Obviously you are free to disagree.
Thank you for reading the blog. And I do appreciate the question.
As always, I welcome any questions and comments.
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We attend the early Mass at our parish, which means we are spared the agonizing and painful sounds of the folk rock "worship band" that "performs" at the later service. We at the early Mass usually have a more traditional set of hymns, accompanied by pipe organ, and sometimes even a few Latin classics thrown in. But even our early group has it's musical mishaps. This weekend we had a full slate of 1980s hack-job compositions. they were still accompanied by organ, mind you - but really, you can't make "Gather Us In" or "Sing a New Song" sound good no matter what you play it on. Those weren't the exact song titles that were featured on Sunday (I can't remember the exact ones), but they were of the same caliber and puke-worthiness. I tried to sing along a couple of times, but my mouth refused to open.
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Besides the bad music this Sunday, I also forgot my missal at home. Which means that I was off my game and messed up the response: "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof..." I caught myself halfway through and tried to pull out a save, but not before I totally mangled the first half. Ugg!
But hey, you can't yourself too seriously...and that brings me to the picture of the week (a classic):