Religious Freedom and America

Some critics have continually and absurdly attacked President Obama for supposedly not calling out the murderers behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks, for supposedly not talking about his Christian faith (if, indeed, they even believe he’s a Christian) and for supposedly being too pro-Muslim (whatever that means). So we thought this response by President Obama to a question at his press conference today was particularly interesting. Regardless of whether one supports or opposes the president’s public policies, surely we can all agree that his response here reveals how our nation is strengthened by respecting religious freedom for people of all faiths. Can’t we? President Obama (from the transcript here):

“One of the things that I most admired about President Bush was after 9/11, him being crystal-clear about the fact that we were not at war with Islam. We were at war with terrorists and murderers who had perverted Islam, had stolen its banner to carry out their outrageous acts. And I was so proud of the country rallying around that idea, that notion that we are not going to be divided by religion; we’re not going to be divided by ethnicity. We are all Americans. We stand together against those who would try to do us harm.

And that’s what we’ve done over the last nine years. And we should take great pride in that. And I think it is absolutely important now for the overwhelming majority of the American people to hang on to that thing that is best in us, a belief in religious tolerance, clarity about who our enemies are — our enemies are al Qaeda and their allies who are trying to kill us, but have killed more Muslims than just about anybody on Earth. We have to make sure that we don’t start turning on each other.

And I will do everything that I can as long as I am President of the United States to remind the American people that we are one nation under God, and we may call that God different names but we remain one nation. And as somebody who relies heavily on my Christian faith in my job, I understand the passions that religious faith can raise. But I’m also respectful that people of different faiths can practice their religion, even if they don’t subscribe to the exact same notions that I do, and that they are still good people, and they are my neighbors and they are my friends, and they are fighting alongside us in our battles.”

8 thoughts on “Religious Freedom and America

  1. “And I will do everything that I can as long as I am President of the United States to remind the American people that we are one nation under God”

    Oh, really?

  2. G-d bless President Obama! I can only say “Amen” to his remarks.

    This country is going to the dogs, but it has been going to the dogs since its beginning, so it’s nothing particularly new. But the vicious attacks against him is based strictly on the fact that the man is black. Well, hell, SOMEONE had to vote him in and it was almost a landslide; where are his supporters now? Are they the silent minority?

    The GOP has done everything it can to prevent him from having a successful administration, yet despite banging into a brick wall at every turn President Obama is one of the most successful presidents we’ve ever had, and that, folks, is the truth. G-d help us if we wind up with Boehner as speaker. We’ve seen what happens when people of his ilk are in power. We saw it for eight ******* years! When President Clinton left office we had a SURPLUS which Shrub squandered away in a matter of months and put us right back into a deficit of staggering proportions. Now the GOP is blaming President Obama for the GOP recession that almost became a depression. I don’t know about you, but “I” am depressed at the thought of a GOP take over.

    According to her nothingness, Sarah Palin, “We’re going to take the country back.” What does that mean? Who took the country somewhere and won’t give it back? People like Ms. Engle in Arizona wants to use guns to impose their kind of kooky stupidity. I thought that trying to foment a violent overthrow of the government was a crime, yet NOTHING has happened to her yet. She, among others in the T party are calling the Obama administration a tyrannical government. What are they thinking? Do they think? Methinks not.

    The idiots in New York and around the country seem to have forgotten that we are a Constitutional Republic and we are governed by laws, not guns. Religious freedom? First they came for the unionists. I was not a unionist. I said nothing. Remember that? If they succeed in blocking the perfectly legal right of building a community center a few blocks from “ground zero” then ALL IS LOST, THIS COUNTRY WILL HAVE BURNED ITSELF OUT.

    Who will be next on their hate list? Jews? Jehovah’s Witnesses? Church of Christ?

    I’ve been on the receiving end of hatred simply because of my religion. I’ve experienced what violence religious intolerance can do. When I was a little girl, I was playing with some other girls on our street. Their father, who knew we were Jewish, screamed that no kikes were going to play with HIS children, and to make his point, he got in his car and tried to kill me!! He got 20 years because even his children and wife testified on my behalf. The term “bigot” was invented just for him.

    I’m seriously worried about our country. It is no longer united in any sense of the word. Thomas Jefferson in 1787, wrote to James Madison, “a little rebellion now and then is a good thin for America.” He meant producing change by civil voting, not by violent means that the Tea party seems to think. What I do not for the life of me understand is why people who are dirt poor vote for any Republican. I asked one why he voted for Bush, his answer floored me. “He gave me $300.” Does the term political prostitution make sense to anyone else?

  3. In general a nice comment. But I take issue with Obama’s claim that we are “…one nation under God…” The last time I looked we were a nation without an official religion, belief or disbelief. And that’s the way our founders meant it. So, it pains me to see Obama, of all people, casually rewriting history. With Dubya, I expected it and sensed it was an entirely cynical ploy. With Obama, I think he means it, but hasn’t given the idea much thought. My ancestors came here more than 350 years ago seeking both economic opportunity and religious freedom. They initially found the latter, and, eventually the former. So Obama’s historic revision hits a sour note for me. To impose God on the nation is to impose him on the 15% or so of our population—more than any single Protestant denomination—who call themselves atheists or agnostics. That’s not right.

  4. It’s really sad when politicians must cling to God to remain elected. It destroyed McCain who went from a principled man to a religious panderer just for votes. Insincere, too.

    I hope that Obama is lying when he says he “relies on his faith.” I’d rather he rely upon his intellect, knowledge and other smart, knowledgable people.

    Obama is being distracted by noise and it’s very disappointing that he’s unable to rise above it. Let them eat cake.

  5. Calm down people. He was probably using it in the Christian sense for him (and me), the Jewish sense for Beverly and Cytocop, the Islamic sense for those Arabic folks, the Spaghetti Monster for others, and the Is “Nothing Sacred” sense for folks who bend in that direction. Why? Because he is the President of the United States for all of the people (and not just some like the far right fringe), he has to think that way. He also has to convince Glen Beck that he is not Islamic because it’s hurting his numbers.

    I have a few extra pounds. Whenever I see someone reach for a candy bar in the checkout line, my first inclination is to yell, “Stop!!! Don’t you know that things like those make people like you look like me.” That brings me to a story.

    My daughter and I just got back from eating dinner at our favorite deli, which is run by a local Iraqi family. The guy sitting in the booth in front of us and across the aisle was a real character. He looked like the demon “Rezerracter.” He had a brown, English tweed cap and tweed knicker shorts with brass buttons like a Leprecaun. His beard was red, and he had several large earrings in each ear. Wild and massive tattoos emerged from his clothing onto nearly every inch of his exposed skin. He was wearing a beige tee-shirt with a message written on his back: “If God doesn’t like the sin I am about to commit, he had better close his eyes.”

    On the television bolted to the ceiling above him, CNN was running a special story on that nutty preacher in Florida who wants to burn Korans tomorrow. I looked up at the television. I looked down at him. I looked up at the television. I looked down at him. I looked up at the television. I looked down at him. Then I thought: “You know what? I bet some guy just like that preacher on TV created the guy in the booth next to me.”

  6. President Obama, I love you. I really do. But as one of the growing percentage of Americans who are atheists, I take exception to your implicit position that all Americans believe in god, just using different names. I’m an American; Fox news tries hard enough to deny it, I don’t need you doing it too Mr. President.

  7. Obama STILL has not chosen a church to call his own, as every first family has done. He had the audacity to say he didn’t go to church much because of the disruption to the services his presence might cause. WOH! You are so popular that we got distracted from Jesus.


    Obama. What a dufus.

  8. Gary E. is the dufus, not Obama. Whether a President is a Christian or goes to church is irrelevant. Neither has any bearing on his or her political or intellectual competence. The unequal level of criticism about the religious practices of different Presidents only illustrates the point. If I’m not mistaken, St. Ronnie seldom went to church and was not officially or unofficially associated with any particular parish or denomination. Does that make him evil? No, it just made him a hypocrite about the way he used religion to pull the wool over the eyes of his loyal followers. And it had no bearing on his competence as President.