7:32 AM, Mar 30, 2015 • By JERYL BIER
During President Obama's tenure, religious Americans have been increasingly marginalized by an administration that can be intolerant or at least unaccomodating of beliefs that conflict with its policies, regulations, or legislative goals. Perhaps most notably, President Obama campaigned by expressing support for traditional marriage, more than once citing his Christianity as the basis for his position, a position he later "evolved" away from. This has not stopped the president, however, from invoking scripture in support of other items on his agenda.
The most recent example came last week during a trip to Alabama to draw attention to a relatively obscure item on the president's policy list, payday lending rules. The president said some "very conservative folks" recognize scriptural prohibitions against excessive interest, or usury, part of a Biblical principle to prevent exploitation of the poor. Here are the president's remarks in context:
You've got some very conservative folks here in Alabama who recognize -- they're reading their Bible, they're saying, well, that ain’t right. (Laughter and applause.) Right? I mean, they're saying the Bible is not wild about somebody charging $1,000 worth of interest on a $500 loan. Because it feels like you're taking advantage of somebody.
President Obama's citation of "folks" in Alabama reading their Bibles and concluding "that ain’t right" seems especially ironic in light of the recent drama in that state over same-sex marriage. A federal judge struck down state laws defining marriage as one man-on woman, a decision the state appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which declined to stay the original ruling. However, the Alabama state supreme court chief justice, Roy Moore, subsequently ordered a halt to the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses, and the Alabama house approved a bill that would permit judges, ministers and other officials to decline to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies.
Although the president has not directly commented on the same-sex marriage controversy in Alabama, just three weeks ago White House press secretary Josh Earnest reiterated that the president speaks out "boldly in support of gay marriage," so it seems safe to say the those who look at their Bibles and same-sex marriage and conclude "that ain't right" would not find the president in their corner on that issue.
President Obama recently attempted to use the Bible in support of his immigration initiatives, with mixed success. He noted that the "good book" says to "make sure we’re looking at the log in our eye before were pulling out the mote in other folks eyes" (which does appear in Scripture), but also "don’t throw stones in glass houses" (a much more recent proverb of uncertain origin).
9:21 AM, Feb 15, 2015 • By JERYL BIER
In an effort to sign up as many consumers as possible for insurance under the Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare), the Obama administration has gone to extraordinary lengths to partner with churches and other faith-based groups, even publishing sample church bulletin inserts, flyers, and scripts for announcements, as well as "talking points." These materials are part of the "
10:38 AM, Jun 30, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
The Associated Press reports:
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court says corporations can hold religious objections that allow them to opt out of the new health law requirement that they cover contraceptives for women.
7:01 AM, May 15, 2014 • By FRED BARNES
Ben Carson is warming to the idea of running for president. Since the famous brain surgeon retired last year from Johns Hopkins Hospital, he’s been speaking around the country to enthusiastic audiences. And they’ve affected his thinking about seeking national office.
World Vision and the definition of marriage.May 19, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 34 • By TERRY EASTLAND
On March 24, World Vision, one of the nation’s best-known Christian relief and development nonprofits and one of the world’s largest charities, announced that it would no -longer exclude from employment, on its stateside staff of 1,100, Christians who are in legal same-sex marriages. Two days later, having heard from church partners and supporters who disagreed with the decision, the board rescinded it. Thus, as before, no one in a same-sex marriage may work for World Vision.
9:45 AM, May 7, 2014 • By ADAM J. WHITE
This week, the Supreme Court affirmed a New York town council's tradition of beginning its meetings with a prayer. In Town of Greece v. Galloway, the court held, by a bare majority, that the First Amendment's Establishment Clause does not prohibit such prayers led by local clergymen, even when the prayers tend to be Christian.
7:28 AM, May 5, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
During a talk to the U.S. embassy staff in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at the first stop on his trip to Africa, Secretary of State John Kerry remarked about what he called the "different cross-currents of modernity" and the challenges they present on the African continent.
3:33 PM, Apr 20, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Amid the usual news stories this Easter Sunday – accounts of the president’s family attending church and the pope addressing multitudes – there is this startling and vastly hopeful headline:
'It’s not even close.'7:01 AM, Apr 16, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Former New York City mayor is pledging to spend $50 million this year to push gun control, the New York Times reports. For this and other deeds (such as taking on obesity and smoking), Bloomberg believes he's going to heaven.
On Twitter, he attacks and belittles those with different views. 4:28 PM, Jul 30, 2013 • By OREN KESSLER
Fox News’s now infamous interview with Reza Aslan last week has rallied much of the media to the Iranian-born and now Hollywood-based academic’s defense, and catapulted his recently published Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
Explaining the connection between family and religion. Jun 24, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 39 • By JONATHAN V. LAST
'Time was when the whole of life went forward in the family,” the historian Peter Laslett once wrote, “in a circle of loved, familiar faces. . . . That time has gone forever. It makes us very different from our ancestors.” Laslett was writing in 1965, as he lamented the decline of the family over the course of England’s industrial age. But even then, after a century and a half of upheaval, families in Great Britain and the rest of the West were relatively large, divorce was rare, and illegitimacy was frowned upon.