Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Freedom of religion vs. freedom of worship

The left's rhetorical sleight of hand with a big difference in meaning.
Okay, so where are the threats to Religious Freedom in America today? Well, for one thing, understand we are not talking about Freedom of Worship. In a speech 18 months ago, Hillary Clinton replaced the phrase Freedom of Religion with Freedom of Worship — and my hero and friend Chuck Colson noticed and was disturbed by it. Why? Because these are radically different things. They have Freedom of Worship in China. But what exactly is Freedom of Worship?

In my book
Bonhoeffer I talk about a meeting between Bonhoeffer’s friend, the Rev. Martin Niemoller, who early on in the Third Reich was one of those fooled by Hitler. And in that meeting he says something to Hitler about how he, Niemoller, cares about Germany and the Third Reich — and Hitler cuts him off and says “I built the Third Reich. You just worry about your sermons!”

There in a few words you have the idea of Freedom of Worship. Freedom of Worship says you can have your little strange rituals and say whatever you like in your little religious buildings for an hour or two on Sundays, but once you leave that building you will bow to the secular orthodoxy of the state! We will tell you what to think on the big and important questions. Questions like when life begins and who gets to decide when to end it and what marriage is… And if you don’t like it, tough luck! That’s Freedom of Worship and they have that in China and they had it in Germany in Bonhoeffer’s day…

2 comments:

  1. While I think you correctly perceive what 21st-century progressives have in mind when they speak of "freedom of worship", the phrase itself has a much longer history. It goes back at least to FDR's 1941 "Four Freedoms" speech.

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    1. Figures. I'm no fan of FDR.

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