‘Freedom to Worship’ is Not ‘Freedom of Religious Expression’

When dealing with Leftists, you have to be very aware of language.  You have to listen extremely careful to what they say, how they say it…and what they don’t say.

George Orwell’s 1984 was about a futuristic, statist environment where the government not only controlled every aspect of the citizens’ lives, but went so far as to police people’s thoughts and attempted to control language as a tool to control thought.  Socialism and liberalism are the manifestation of Orwell’s hypothetical world come to life in the real world.

So when Paul Cooper at NewsRealBlog noticed President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton referring to “freedom of worship” rather than the most common “freedom of religion” phrase in connection with the inalienable right for human beings to exercise whatever religious faith they choose, he took note.

Words matter. Words often hold great meaning. That is especially true when it comes to the words of our founding documents like the Bill of Rights in our Constitution. Those words are especially cherished. Yet in the past year it appears the Obama administration has been changing one key word in that sacred scroll.

Last month the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom’s 2010 report revealed grave concern about both President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton rejecting the term “freedom of religion” for the term “freedom of worship” in public pronouncements. Why the change when the First Amendment talks specifically about our freedom of religion and not simply worship?

What does the First Amendment say?

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

It does not limit this recognition of freedom merely to how we worship. Rather, the First Amendment recognizes and guarantees the freedom to exercise our religion how we see fit. That means we can express religious sentiments publicly, pray publicly, wear religious icons publicly, talk about our religious belief publicly, and so forth.

If we only have “freedom of worship,” knowing how liberals operate, it won’t be long until they have backed Christians into a corner, accomplishing what they’ve wanted for a long time: relegating Christian religious expression to the four walls of a church on Sunday…and nothing more. They can finally purge the public square of all that icky, inconvenient Christian belief that stands in the way of abortion anytime for any reason, full sexual autonomy, and their glorious socialist revolution.

Cooper’s piece cites several instances over the past year or so where the Obama Administration has used this curious term of “freedom of worship,” and I encourage you to read his entire piece.

In case you might think Cooper is a lone paranoid soul, Christian apologist Chuck Colson has also taken note of this trend and addresses it in his latest video below.

22 Responses to “‘Freedom to Worship’ is Not ‘Freedom of Religious Expression’”

  1. Let us never forget a previous time when someone worked to confine “religious expression” to within church walls, with no influence in the public square. That was when Christianity stood in the way of what we now know as the Holocaust.

    Those who are threatened by Christian standards are not to be trusted. Ever.

  2. A good article and I do agree that Obama and Clinton were substituting ' worship' for 'religion' for a reason, but I think it was their subtle way of saying ” all religions are the same ” since when the word 'religion' is used in the US, it usually refers to Christianity. They didn't want to show preference and at the same time time, wanted to knock Christianty down a peg.

    I don't quite agree when you said ' you can exercise your religion any way you see fit'. I would add ' as long as it stays within our laws' !

  3. The Naxi's rounded up and exterminated 6 million Jews, which was stopped only when advancing Allied Forces captured the death camps and put an end to it.That was the Holocaust. Didn't quite get the ” That was when Christianity stood in the way of what we now know is the Holocaust” part.

  4. Since more than 80% of Americans call themselves Christians, “worship” usually refers to Christianity, too.

    And yes, blowing people up for Allah is not permitted in America.

  5. If you don't get that part, it may be because that aspect of Hitler's actions tends to be overlooked these days. While the more liberal churches, with their watered-down Christianity, tended to support Hitler, he encountered resistance to his plans from true Bible-believers in Germany. Thus he made intentional efforts to keep “religion” confined to within the church walls, and to exercise control even over went on inside said walls.

    People these days sometimes still accept the “Hitler was a Christian” nonsense, in part because he hypocritically tried to “talk religious” in order to appeal to his largely Catholic constituency. But his deep, bitter hatred for Christianity (and the inspiration he got from Darwin) are clearly revealed in his writings and private quotes.

  6. That should be “even over *what* went on”.

  7. Certainly Hitler was no Christian, but was just unaware of this 'resistence' he received from the true Bible-believers in Germany. Any examples ?

  8. I often hear leftists saying that Christians should keep their religion confined inside the walls of their churches; the church buildings that they say they want to “burn down and then tax the charred remains.” This is what is revealed in their more candid moments, and don't for one minute think that they wouldn't realize this vision if given the power. And that power may not be too far away; leftists have a listening ear in the current administration, Congress and many of the packed courts of this country. The crimes committed after California's Proposition 8 passed have virtually gone unprosecuted and have been largely shrugged off and swept under the rug. Under a sane government, none of the credible threats, criminal defacement of property, theft, and harassment would have been tolerated.

  9. Bob,
    I never thought about of differences the terminology. I agree that worship should not replace religion in the First Amendment. However, don't we have the inalienable right to both worship (not directly mentioned) and religion? Well, if there is conspiracy to change the meaning, I'm glad I won't be fooled, thanks.

  10. I think it's reasonable to say that if we have freedom of religious expression, we have freedom to and of worship. Unfortunately, as is the point of the article, given the anti-religious agenda of many secularists today, the freedom of and to worship doesn't necessarily equate to full freedom of religious expression.

    I don't know that there IS a conspiracy to undermine freedom of religious expression by the use of this lesser term, but knowing this bunch, I take nothing for granted.

  11. Bob,
    That's pretty much what I got out of it; worship is one religious act protected by the freedom of religion (all religious acts and expressions). I also fear, whether there is an active conspiracy or not, that future generations might use the current distorted words of President Obama or Hilliary Clinton to justify an alteration of the First Amendment. It's like if they say it enough times it's true.

  12. That's a very good point, because as odd and as wrong as it seems, that can actually happen. I hate it, but if a lie is repeated often enough (and brazenly enough), if it isn't strongly challenged, it becomes accepted as truth.

    Orwell's books explore this phenomenon of language and how it can be perverted to create an “artificial reality,” especially “1984.”

    That is why I've been writing letters to the editor of my local newspaper, doing columns for other websites and newspapers, and now for the past five years doing Dakota Voice: doing the little part that I can to challenge those lies being fed to us by an ideology that wants to create a new artificial reality–one that's not only counter to my theological beliefs, but one that is counter to the very American way of life.

    We can all do something to help keep that “pernicious lie” from being accepted as truth; you're helping in that here, and at your own blog. I appreciate that.

  13. Allow me to ramble here, but I do have a point. Freedom to worship. Freedom of religion. Or conversely, the freedom to not worship, or freedom to have no religion. Are these emotions or life guides expressed in the public square? Yes. Just by our existence we live and move and have our being, either with God, or with Satan. As Bob Dylan said, “either the devil or the Lord, but your gonna have to serve somebody”. There is no in between. If Bob Dylan knows this, shouldnt we all?
    So, even if, God forbid, we are forced to worship only in church, we can live out St Asissis prayer. How did that go? I cant find the quote exactly but it was something like “preach Christ by your actions. If all else fails use words”?
    Pray for Obama, and those in power. That Christ shows himself to them.

  14. I think that quote is pretty close, and definitely communicates the heart of it. I'm not holding my breath, but I still hold out hope for President Obama. Something in my just keeps telling me that God may yet get through to him.

  15. Happy Independence Day Bob,

    I have really enjoyed and learned a lot, reading yours and other blogs, here at Dakota Voice. I have found that debating ideas has strengthened some of my thoughts and changed others. When the time is ever right for me, I will make a small donation. Thanks for all your hard work and for providing us (libertarians, liberals, conservatives, Christians, atheists, all) a place to speak. Keep it up and I hope God keeps you safe.

  16. Thank you. I'm touched, but there's no need for a donation. Just keep working to promote truth, and that's very valuable to me.

  17. I'll have to do some checking. Actually, I believe Hitler made efforts to prevent it before too much of it happened. And at any rate my point had much more to do with Hitler's attitude toward Christianity than vice versa, because it's that attitude which is being disturbingly closely duplicated by modern American liberals.

  18. It wasn't just Jewish people murdered by Hitler's regime. There were many Christians killed in the death camps, too.

  19. Thanks DCM. Would be interesting to know if there was any Christian active resistance to Hitler before he got such a murderous stranglehold on the people. I hated when liberals compared Bush to Hitler and now hate when conservatives relate Obama to Hitler. The syllogism doesn't work
    Hitler was anti-Christian
    Americans liberals are anti-Christian
    Therefore Hitler and American liberals can be clumped together

    Just as this syllogism doesn't work

    Hitler believed in National exceptionalism
    American conservatives believe in National exceptionalism
    Therefore Hitler and American conservatives can be clumped together

    Like the liberals relating Bush to Hitler, wish the American conservatives would stop this most ridiculous of comparisons to Obama

  20. Anyone who didn't meet Hitlers 'standards' were killed and the entire Holocaust( 6 million in deaths camps and 5 million outside as estimated) killed as many as 11 to 12 million people, many of which were non-Jewish. The death camps did have an overwhelming percentage of Jews to my knowledge.

    Anti-semitism was running high in Germany and had been for years. The great Christian Protestant reformer Martin Luther and his Lutheranism had really caught hold in Germany in the 1900's. Martin Luther wrote a book called ” On Jews and Their Lies” where he called Jews a ' base,whoring people' and 'full of the devils feces'

    When Hitler came along, millions of German Christians had, by this time, this anti-semitism heavily indoctrinated into them and millions were very misguided Christians. Hitler had relatively easy fodder from which to work.These Christians had fallen for Luther's propaganda and were again falling for for Hitlers.

  21. I'm not making any broad, crude comparison of Obama to Hitler. I'm just saying that the attitude of “keep religion inside the church walls” has been seen before (under Hitler, for one example) and needs to be watched out for now.