Today, President Barack Obama continued the tradition of observing Religious Freedom Day with a presidential proclamation. But this year, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty critiqued his use of "freedom of worship" rhetoric–a debate that first arose in 2010.
"Foremost among the rights Americans hold sacred is the freedom to worship as we choose," begins Obama's proclamation (full text at bottom), which later asserts "religious liberty ... is a universal human right to be protected here at home and across the globe. This freedom is an essential part of human dignity, and without it our world cannot know lasting peace."
Becket challenged the president's statement in light of the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate, which currently faces 43 legal challenges (many led by Becket) based on religious freedom concerns.
"Perhaps this mismatch between words and deeds can be explained by the phrase 'freedom of worship,' which the President uses in the first sentence of his proclamation," ...1