By Bill Donohue
There may be no issue which shows how far apart President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump are than religious liberty. The following is a chronological account of important religious liberty issues that both presidents addressed in their first year in office.
Three days after assuming office, Obama announced that he would overturn restrictions on funding abortions overseas.
Less than a week later, he said he would restore U.S. funding to the U.N. Population Fund, which pays for abortion.
In February 2009, Obama’s newly designed Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships was announced. Its focus was not religious liberty. Instead, its goal was to decide on a case by case basis which funding requests were constitutionally acceptable, calling into question the hiring rights of religious non-profit organizations.
In March, Obama appointed Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). An abortion-rights zealot, she was a defender of Dr. George Tiller, who performed more than 60,000 abortions. She also accepted money from him.
Obama lifted restrictions on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, thus allowing the government to be in the business of killing nascent human life.
Dawn Johnsen was nominated to be assistant attorney general in charge of the Office of Legal Counsel. She started her legal career in the 1980s by working with the ACLU to strip the Catholic Church of its tax exempt status.
Harry Knox was appointed to the Advisory Council of the faith-based initiative. He had been denied ordination in the United Methodist Church for being a sexually active homosexual. He denounced Pope Benedict XVI’s comments on AIDS, calling the pontiff a liar. He also maligned the Knights of Columbus.
When Obama spoke at Georgetown University, his advance team insisted on covering up all religious statues so that none would be seen on television.
The Obama administration reopened a case against Belmont Abbey College, challenging the school’s decision not to cover abortion, artificial contraception, and sterilization in its healthcare coverage.
Obama rolled out his healthcare bill — which included funding for abortion.
In September of 2009, Kevin Jennings was appointed safe school czar. He was known for promoting unsafe sex practices at several homosexual conferences, and for his Christian bashing. He also publicly condemned God.
Chai Feldblum was nominated to join the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). She was known for arguing that sexual rights, which are nowhere mentioned in the Constitution, should trump religious rights, which are cited in the First Amendment.
The religious elements of Christmas at the White House were downplayed. Ornaments of a mass killer were displayed on a White House Christmas tree.
On Feb. 1, 2017, Trump chose Judge Neil Gorsuch to take Antonin Scalia’s place on the U.S. Supreme Court. Gorsuch is a strong proponent of religious liberty, holding that conscience rights are paramount.
Trump endorsed educational equality, championing the cause of tax incentives to businesses that fund private schools. He directed his support for school choice at poor minority families.
Trump issued an executive order on religious liberty which, while lacking specifics, sent a clear message to his cabinet on how to proceed with such matters.
A bill to allow the states to strip funding from Planned Parenthood was signed into law by Trump. The “Trump Effect” was noted in several states that chose to pass bills restricting abortion. A decision to provide direct assistance to persecuted Christians in the Mideast was announced. A religious exemption to Obama’s HHS mandate was granted by Trump.
The religious elements of Christmas at the White House were celebrated.
The stark contrast between the two administrations’ approach to religious liberty was illuminated in two Rasmussen surveys. In 2014, under Obama, 30 percent of the public said government was a protector of religious liberty; 48 percent saw it as a threat. In October of 2017, under Trump, 39 percent named government as a protector of religious liberty; 38 percent saw it as a threat.
The conclusion is obvious: Obama was not a religious-friendly president, but Trump surely is.
Dr. William Donohue is the president and CEO of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. The publisher of the Catholic League journal, Catalyst, Donohue is a former Bradley Resident Scholar at the Heritage Foundation and served for two decades on the board of directors of the National Association of Scholars. He is the author of seven books, and the winner of several teaching awards and many awards from the Catholic community.
Gospelbbq adds the following to Donohue’s comments:
President Barak Obama’s public disdain for traditional Christian practices and beliefs is unprecedented in U.S. presidential history.
Barack Obama has publicly and verbally advocated the persecution Christians who stand for preserving biblical ethics in culture and in governing.
Barak Obama used government agencies to stop or restrict Christian, conservative, and Republican non-profits free-speech efforts, including punishing certain groups financially.
Barack Obama promoted the counterfeiting of the historic human institution of marriage as defined by God and confirmed by Jesus Christ.
Barack Obama promoted and encouraged totalitarian coercion for special rights and privileges for forcing acceptance of sexually deviant and immoral practices that God says are abhorrent and an abomination to him.
Barack Obama openly promoted presidential and government lawlessness and contempt for upholding America’s most important principle of the “Rule of Law.”
Barak Obama has a personal disdain for the Christian “principles” that make up America’s founding documents. Obama believes in secular-humanist government devoid of Christian influence; however, other religious influences are of course, O.K.
Barack Obama rejects the rights of Israel’s self-protection and embraces the sworn enemies of Israel who are openly working to destroy Israel forever.
President Obama always managed to put himself above Christians and above the Church, as if he were better than, but not a part of the Church. Not encouraging Christian beliefs, but mocking and belittling their time honored beliefs.
President Obama seemed to go out of his way to oppose Christian values that he did not like, often by force through government coercion.