16 January 2013

Religious Freedom Proclamation: what gets left out?

Much is being made today of B.O.'s proclamation on religious freedom.  As many have already noted, this proclamation comes at a time when the President is doing everything in his power to stifle real religious freedom by replacing it with an anemic "freedom to worship."

B.O. quotes Jefferson's Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. . .or rather, he quotes selected portions of the statute.  Read the entire statute and it will become apparent to you within the first three sentences why B.O. doesn't quote more than he does.

As anyone who's engaged in any sort of textual interpretation knows, the ellipses tell most of the story.  In fact, ellipses beg the reader to ask the question:  what's left out?

For example, here's the first paragraph of B.O.'s proclamation:

Foremost among the rights Americans hold sacred is the freedom to worship as we choose. Today, we celebrate one of our Nation’s first laws to protect that right — the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. Written by Thomas Jefferson and guided through the Virginia legislature by James Madison, the Statute affirmed that “Almighty God hath created the mind free” and “all men shall be free to profess … their opinions in matters of religion.” Years later, our Founders looked to the Statute as a model when they enshrined the principle of religious liberty in the Bill of Rights.

First, note that "religious liberty" has mysteriously, inexplicably become "freedom to worship." Then, note the ellipses. What gets left out?

Here's what gets left out:

Be it enacted by General Assembly that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of Religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge or affect their civil capacities. And though we well know that this Assembly elected by the people for the ordinary purposes of Legislation only, have no power to restrain the acts of succeeding Assemblies constituted with powers equal to our own, and that therefore to declare this act irrevocable would be of no effect in law; yet we are free to declare, and do declare that the rights hereby asserted, are of the natural rights of mankind, and that if any act shall be hereafter passed to repeal the present or to narrow its operation, such act will be an infringement of natural right.

Apparently, an Ivy League education and the vaulted heights of the Presidency can deprive one of one's sense of irony.

The Curt Jester notes the irony as well.

Follow HancAquam or Subscribe ----->

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:43 AM

    Reminds me of the local gay church in San Francisco. It advertises "Diverse Beliefs. Shared Values." It means they don't care if you're Christian or Buddhist, as long as you support gay marriage and Obamacare. They don't call it The Liberal Religion for nothin'. Lord and Savior O is the High Priest.