Why are politicians waging religious warfare?

Max Blaska, Clarion staff

Over the last couple of weeks this phrase has been bandied about.  Many conservative Christians have doubts about our president’s faith and some have even said that Obama wants to destroy Christianity.

With Obama mandating that Christian institutions, like hospitals and schools must cover contraception in their health plans, there has been an outrage from the Christian right. Obama changed it, so the hospitals don’t have to provide it but an outside insurance company must cover it, yet the outrage continues.

I am a devout Christian. I also believe in the first amendment “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” This goes both ways, the government cannot establish a church or push their religion onto the public. But also, the government shouldn’t interfere with Christian institutions and their matters of consciousness. One shouldn’t be forced to compromise their values. If you don’t agree with the institutions values, then you can always leave and find work elsewhere.

I also believe that atheists can be oversensitive. For example, blocking memorial crosses on public land and complaining about nativity scenes or Christmas trees. We don’t want to force our faith on you nor do we want be forced into hiding our faith. What we want is an open marketplace of ideas.

Rick Perry, in a now infamous ad, declared that he would end Obama’s war on religion. He believes that Obama is waging this war because Obama did not defend the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage act and that he also did not mention God in his thanksgiving speech. Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum and others have also mentioned this “war on religion,” which persecutes Christians and violates their Christian liberty.

Some even go so far as to say that this has parallels with the rise of Nazi Germany. Eric Metaxas, conservative author, wrote a book on Dietrich Bonheoffer, a German pastor who was executed by the Nazi regime.

“In the early ‘30s, little things were happening where the state was bullying the churches. No one spoke up. In the beginning, it always starts really, really small,” Metaxas wrote. “We need to understand as America, as Americans, if we do not see this, as a bright line in the sand, if you’re not a Catholic, if you use contraception, doesn’t matter. Because eventually, this kind of government overreach will affect you. If we don’t speak up, we’re gonna be in trouble.”

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council said “The first step in the fulfillment of this radical utopian dream is silencing Christians like you. After all, it is we Christians who are at the heart of the resistance to the Obama agenda.”

War is a fighting word with violent connotations, and comparing Obama to Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany is wrong and is not based on the facts. When Hitler came to power, conservative Catholics supported him and Hitler played on that fear of immorality and an attack on Christianity.

Obama’s views and speeches don’t compare to one of Hitler’s rhetoric-filled speeches: “Today Christians … stand at the head of [this country]… I pledge that I never will tie myself to parties who want to destroy Christianity. We want to fill our culture again with the Christian spirit … We want to burn out all the recent immoral developments in literature, in the theater, and in the press – in short, we want to burn out the poison of immorality which has entered into our whole life and culture as a result of liberal excess during the past … (few) years.”

Churches in America still get tax-exempt status, Christians still have a right to pray and have a right to spread the gospel. Obama is not trying to end any of these things. Obama is not a radical Muslim or atheist trying to destroy Christianity. He is a Christian from a liberal denomination who wants to follow Christ’s teachings about love, justice, mercy and taking care of others. At the National Prayer Breakfast he said “Living by the principle that we are our brother’s keeper. Caring for the poor and those in need, these values.” He continued, “They’re the ones that have defined my own faith journey.”

There is a war on Christianity, but it is not here. The Coptic Christians in Egypt have their churches bombed and members killed in the streets. According to the Commission on International Religious Freedom, In Iraq as many as 50% of Iraq’s Christians may already have left the country. 
Before the liberation of Iraq, there were 20,000 Christian families living in the Dora neighborhood of Baghdad. Today, only 3,000 families remain. In Pakistan if you share the Gospel, what Jesus has done for you and for them, you can be arrested and killed due to blasphemy laws.  All across the Islamic world, Africa and China, if you are Christian and if you share your faith, you might be arrested or worse.

Imagine being in a basement church in one of these countries, terrified that policemen or soldiers will kick down your door, deface your Bibles and throw you in jail.

This is the war on Christianity. This is persecution, and to claim that Obama’s policies are equivalent sickens me.