April 7, 2010
Recent comments to religious leaders give a rare glimpse into the personal religious beliefs of President Obama, who has seemed to stray away from openly expressing such beliefs in public over his last year-plus in office. The comments were made in a speech by Obama at an Easter prayer breakfast Tuesday (click here for a video).
The president started off by calling those in attendance “my brothers and sisters in Christ,” later referring to Christ as “our risen Savior.” He also said that, “… as Christians, we believe that redemption can be delivered — by faith in Jesus Christ.”
It’s worth noting that the White House has also honored Jewish and Muslim holy days. But, the president’s particular comments in this recent speech are noteworthy in that he has often been criticized for not overtly expressing his beliefs.
March 9, 2010
A recent report noted that services had been stopped for a Dallas church that was holding its meetings in a public housing unit. The local housing authority president had claimed that the services violated the separation of church and state.
A federal spokesman (with HUD) attempted to clarify the move:
He said the Fair Housing Act allows religious activity in common areas of public housing as long as it does not result in unequal treatment of residents.
A new story reports that services have since been allowed to resume. The law only restricts religious activity when it results in treating residents unequally. The local housing authority president has apologized.
Lost in all of this, however, are two points. First, what ever happened to the First-Amendment wording: “shall make no law” in terms of “prohibiting the free exercise” of religion or “abridging the freedom of speech”? And second, where is the federal government constitutionally authorized to subsidize housing (see the Tenth Amendment if in doubt)?
The controversy over “public housing” being host to religious services wouldn’t be a federal problem if government was limited to its constitutional scope. A lot of the legal conundrums we find ourselves in lately stem back to government being involved in too many activities not authorized by the Constitution.
May 25, 2009
It’s interesting to learn from this OneNewsNow story that an intelligence brief President Bush received daily often included a quotation from the Bible. The story focuses on the fact that the Obama administration has ceased this practice. Noting the controversy over this practice, the story states the following:
According to GQ magazine, the Bible quotes were apparently aimed at supporting Mr. Bush in 2003 at a time when soldiers’ deaths were on the rise. But they offended at least one Muslim analyst at the Pentagon, and other employees believed the passages were inappropriate.
I’m not sure what to make of this story other than the fact that President Bush was devoutly religious — which is something already well known. I am a little puzzled, however, as to how this practice originated. Regardless, it is an interesting tidbit that further enlightens our understanding of the Bush mindset in this post-Bush period.