Monday, February 13, 2012

Freedom of "Worship" vs. Freedom of Religion

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights says about the freedom of religion:

"the principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance."

The United States' Constitution has as its First Amendment:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

Both of these quotes say what is obvious to most people - religion spills into life and is not contained simply within the doors of a church. Put another way, there is no religion that simply advocates attending a weekly worship service.

In fact, our society typically SLANDERS those for whom religion simply involves attending the worship service and DOESN'T get carried out into the streets of every day life. We typically refer to such people as hypocrites!

However, people from President Obama's camp have begun slipping into their speeches a VERY dangerous phrase that Archbishop Chaput and others are rightly raising the alarm over...the phrase they've employed is "freedom of worship," and they've been using it where a constitutionally minded person such as the President should be using the phrase "freedom of religion."

What is scary is that "freedom of worship" implies that a group can do whatever they want as part of their worship service, but that the government has authority to control all aspects beyond the doors of the Church.

The irony here is that this flies in the face of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The writers and signers of the Declaration quite clearly sought to prevent just such an interpretation by explicitly expanding the definition of religion to include not just "worship" but also the "practice and observance" of one's religion as well.

The Constitution PROTECTS not just my right to worship but also my right to OBSERVE my religion and to PRACTICE my religion beyond the doors of my Church.

It is as if the Obama administration is trying to encourage religious people to be the most dreaded word in all of society, a person who worships but does not put teachings into practice - a hypocrite.