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Wait just one minute. We hate falling into The Trap — the two-party conundrum in which we end up defending Democrats against outright lies and mischaracterizations despite our longstanding dissatisfaction with that party — but we’re going to bite on this one. Just who is waging war on whom, here?
Republican noisemakers — including most of the current presidential candidates as well as leading legislators and right-leaning news pundits — have framed the Obama administration’s efforts to ensure reproductive health care for all women as an attack on religious liberty; this despite an accommodation ensuring organizations like the Catholic Church (which benefit enormously from federal largesse) have absolutely no role in providing female health services.
Mitt Romney — who as Mass. governor presided over a similar insurance mandate system, even requiring Catholic hospitals to provide morning-after pills for rape victims — decries “the Obama Administration’s attacks on religious liberty.” Sarah Palin also calls it “a war on our religious liberties.” Rick Santorum says Obama is “hostile to people of faith.” Donald Trump says “[Obama] loves radical Islam.”
Considering these comments — and many, many others — it certainly does seem that a war has been declared, though not the one these thought leaders would have us believe. See, there’s an interesting quirk about religious liberty that these titans of the right seem to consistently overlook:?That is, it necessarily applies to even non-Christian religions.
So when Newt Gingrich — who said last week that he would “repeal every act of religious bigotry put in by President Obama” — tells voters he would only hire Muslim workers after they pass a strict loyalty test, he shows himself as the true religious bigot. And when Trump accuses Obama of consorting with Islamist extremists, he actually implies that religious freedom is indeed high on the president’s priorities (ignoring the fact that his statement has no basis in reality). Santorum’s religious hypocrisy is revealed in his forceful denunciations of Sharia law — even as he pushes his own brand of Christian law on the nation. Palin strongly opposed building a mosque in New York City. Romney does not think “a cabinet position would be justified” for any Muslim.
Those most loudly accusing Obama of religious intolerance are in fact the most intolerant of all! Their concerns reflect only their incredibly narrow beliefs. Marginalizing one religion while playing the victim card over their own supposed persecution, these people don’t care about liberty for anyone but themselves: They want to establish America as a Christian nation that imposes Christian beliefs on all. That’s religious war.
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