The Herald Bulletin

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Letters

February 5, 2013

Viewpoint: Constitution guarantees religious liberty

On Jan. 16, President Obama issued a proclamation declaring that day to be Religious Freedom Day. He cited many reasons why religious liberty is so important; that it is not just an American right, that it is a universal human right to be protected, an essential part of our human dignity and without which our world cannot sustain peace. The proclamation was very broad in scope. It was a statement designed to be applauded by every person of good will.

But it couldn’t help but be noticed how the administration’s own actions were so obviously missing from the president’s proclamation. Following is a statement made by Kyle Duncan, general counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty:

“Today we welcome the President’s Proclamation on Religious Freedom Day. However, we deeply regret that the President does not mention the HHS mandate, which was issued by his administration and which is now trampling the religious freedom of millions of individuals, schools, hospitals, charities, and businesses throughout our nation. Perhaps this mismatch between words and deeds can be explained by the phrase “freedom of worship,” which the President uses in the first sentence of his proclamation. Religious freedom certainly includes worship, but it extends beyond the four walls of a church. If it is not to be an empty promise, religious freedom must also include acting on one’s deepest religious beliefs when one is feeding the poor, caring for the sick, educating the young, or running a business. The HHS mandate ignores that simple truth and is therefore out of step with our traditions and our laws, which promise religious freedom for all.”

Excellent rhetoric can never substitute for leadership. In other words, pay close attention to what is done, not what is said to be done. There is no more sacred and cherished freedom guaranteed by our U.S. Constitution than religious liberty for all Americans. Your freedom to practice your faith (or not) is no longer. Constitutional protections are now under full attack by both our president and his administration. So, stand up for your religious freedom today.

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