President Obama: Gay Marriage Trumps Religious Freedom

President Barack Obama (photo credit: Marc Nozell via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)
President Barack Obama (photo credit: Marc Nozell via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

In front of the White House last Wednesday, President Obama made the bold move to applaud the “moral authority” and “profound moral example” of a man who just months ago had written that “it is not a healthy attitude which would seek ‘to cancel out sexual difference because it no longer knows how to confront it.’” In the same document, this man also asked the world, “How can we genuinely teach the importance of concern for other vulnerable beings, however troublesome or inconvenient they may be, if we fail to protect a human embryo, even when its presence is uncomfortable and creates difficulties?”

The President then went on to profess to Pope Francis that “we stand with you in defense of religious freedom and interfaith dialogue, knowing that people everywhere must be able to live out their faith free from fear and intimidation.”

What Obama failed to mention to the Pope is that it will be left up to his administration to determine what constitutes the “genuine concerns” of religious institutions.

On Sunday night, Obama gave remarks at the Democratic National Committee LGBT Gala, half of which were spent applauding the Democrats and LGBT movement for achieving “marriage equality,” the other half of which were spent mocking those Republicans who have dared to stand up for the present and future victims of the Obergefell decision.

“America has left the leaders of the Republican Party behind,” Obama announced. “One of their leading candidates argued that going to prison turns you gay…Another candidate boasts that he introduced an amendment to end nationwide marriage equality—which isn’t even an accomplishment at all.” His comments were followed with laughter and applause.

“A third says Americans should just disobey the Supreme Court’s ruling entirely. I’m sure he loves the Constitution—except for Article III. And maybe the Equal Protection Amendment. And 14th Amendment, generally.” Yet Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, and Mike Huckabee would be the first candidates to tell you that the Obama administration hasn’t stood for equal protection at all—they stand for selective protection of those persons and groups they deem worthy.

The Supreme Court actually rejected this interpretation of religious freedom in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, stating that the question of whether paying for contraceptive coverage is a violation of an organization’s beliefs is a “question of religion and moral philosophy”—not for the government to answer. Regardless, the Tenth Circuit court recently contradicted this judgment in a similar case, essentially deciding for themselves that the beliefs of the Little Sisters of the Poor are flawed.

In a country where violations of conscience are determined by the courts or by the executive branch, religious freedom will not survive.  As Pope Francis told journalists on his return flight to Rome, conscientious objection must be respected in legal structures, “otherwise we would end up in a situation where we select what is a right, saying: ‘This right has merit, this one does not.’”

Or, in the words of President Obama to the DNC, “we affirm that we cherish our religious freedom and are profoundly respectful of religious traditions…But we also have to say clearly that our religious freedom doesn’t grant us the freedom to deny our fellow Americans their constitutional rights.”

Despite paying their lip service to the Pope and to the American people, Obama and the LGBT lobby have made it clear that they are the new moral authority in this country.

Anna Pfaff works for American Principles in Action.