Will Obama Drop God from Second Oath of Office?
Weekly summary of world news
Norm Olson November 19, 2012
President Barack Obama will be taking the oath of office for the second time on Jan. 21. And atheists want him to do so without mentioning “God” and without a Bible, reports The Christian Post. The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent Obama a letter following his re-election, asking him to reject the way “this country politicizes religion.” “When you stand to reaffirm your oath, do so using the language of the Founders. Eliminate the religious verbiage. While you’re at it, why not place your hand on the Constitution instead of a bible?” FFRF attorney Andrew L. Seidel wrote in the letter. The words “so help me God” are not included in the oath as prescribed by the Constitution, the organization argues. The Constitution also does not require the president to place his hand on a Bible when taking oath, FFRF adds. When Obama took office in 2009, he repeated after Justice John Roberts: “I, Barack Hussein Obama do solemnly swear that I will execute the Office of President of the United States faithfully and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, so help me God.” FFRF argues that “so help me God” violates the Constitution as it alienates the nonreligious, which the organization believes is the future of America. Since this is Obama’s second term, FFRF says he is not “beholden to any future constituency.” “This term is a chance to do something that no president in recent memory has done: reach out to secular Americans. In the past, that might have been politically costly. But this recent election shows that it will be politically costly not to reach out to secular America,” FFRF wrote. “We are the future. Use this second term to build a legacy by rejecting the way this country politicizes religion.”
- Stoning for adultery. Amputations for theft. Death for apostates. And second-class status for Christians and Jews. This is life under Sharia law, the Islamic system practiced in countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Great Britain. Yes, Great Britain. There are reportedly some 85 Sharia courts now operating there, with Islamic judges ruling on cases ranging from financial to marital disputes among British Muslims, reports cbn.com. “We went into some proceedings and there were a couple of Islamic judges sitting up above the rest,” said Alan Craig, who recently stepped down as leader of the Christian Peoples Alliance party. “And there was one Muslim woman who was suing for divorce.” Craig is a former city councilor in East London, home to several Sharia courts where women face open discrimination. “A woman’s witness value is half that of a man,” Craig told CBN News. “So [the courts] will tend, therefore, to take the man’s position in a divorce.” Craig is working with Baroness Caroline Cox to pass a bill in Britain’s House of Lords protecting women from this Sharia oppression. Muslim women in Great Britain often face intimidation within their communities to settle things the Sharia way. According to Craig, some wrongly believe Islamic courts are their only option. “What we’re trying to do is say, Muslim women, especially in this country, need to be informed,” he explained. “They actually have other rights and our view, better rights, under English law.” Sharia courts operate outside of British common law. Their defenders say the courts are legal under a 1996 Arbitration Act that allows people to settle differences through methods of their own choosing.
- A secular group has filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service against the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, alleging that the ministry’s activity during the election season violates its tax exempt status, reports The Christian Post. Freedom From Religion Foundation argued in its filed report that BGEA’s “vote biblical values” ad campaign violated the IRS’ rules on religious groups and political campaigning. “BGEA, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, has run full-page ads publicizing Billy Graham’s call for the electorate to ‘vote biblical values,’” said FFRF in a statement last week. “The ads have appeared in several ‘swing state’ newspapers in preparation for tomorrow’s heated presidential election. Throughout the month of October, BGEA published articles favorable to Romney, which included a statement by Billy Graham.” Brent Rinehart of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association provided The Christian Post with an official statement regarding the “Biblical Values” ad campaign. “The ads intentionally do not mention any candidate, political party, or contest, urging instead for readers to cast votes for candidates-at all levels-based on their support for biblical values,” reads the statement in part. Rob Boston, senior policy analyst for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, told The Christian Post that he believes FFRF had a good case against the BGEA. While some organizations hope to have the IRS punish those who may have supposedly violated their rules on church politicking, other groups like the Alliance Defending Freedom have denounced them. In the month before the election, the ADF had its nationwide annual event “Pulpit Freedom Sunday,” wherein hundreds of clergy spoke from the pulpit about political issues, in an apparent violation of IRS rules. While participants often record their sermons and send them to the IRS, the government organization rarely takes action in response.
- A pro-family activist believes that voter fraud may have indeed taken place in large cities like Cleveland and Philadelphia and could have impacted the election. In the wake of the presidential race, voting records from the Cuyahoga County Ohio board of elections have revealed that Barack Obama received more than 99 percent of the vote in more than 100 precincts in that county on Election Day. In fact, there were several Cleveland precincts where Mitt Romney received exactly zero votes. Robert Knight is a senior fellow and executive director at the American Civil Rights Union. He says there were similar anomalies in Philadelphia. “According the Philadelphia Enquirer, in 59 different voting precincts there wasn’t a single vote cast for Mitt Romney,” he told OneNewsNow. “It was 99.9 percent for Barack Obama. That just doesn’t even happen in communist countries. And the same thing happened, apparently, in Cuyahoga County, which is Cleveland, Ohio.” Knight says, judging by the thin margin Obama carried in battleground states, these vote totals should give pause. “Barack Obama didn’t carry any of them by more than two or three percent, and in some cases around one percent—so a little bit of vote fraud in the cities may have made the difference,” he suggests. There have also been reports of individuals attempting to vote for Romney, but the voting machines kept recording their votes for Obama.
- Dozens of states are refusing to participate in the pro-abortion Obamacare scheme, and several states have still yet to make a decision about it, reports lifenews.com. Leading pro-life and conservative activists are calling on voters in states yet to decide to ask their governors to reject participation. The Obamacare legislation does not contain and language preventing taxpayer funding of abortions, and it contains the HHS mandate that compels religious groups to pay for drugs that may cause abortions. Ken Klukowski, a legal analyst with the Family Research Council, notes how states are deciding: “First, Obamacare expands taxpayer-funded healthcare under Medicaid. The one part of Obamacare that the Supreme Court struck down was the provision allowing the federal government to withdraw all Medicaid funds from states that decline to go along with the expansion. As a result, states can either stay with Medicaid as it currently is, for citizens up to 100% of the poverty line, or they can join Medicaid 2.0, which goes up to 133% of the poverty line, with billions of extra federal dollars to pay for much of the expansion, but leaving states to pay collectively $50 billion more per decade. Second, Obamacare requires insurance exchanges where people can buy coverage, but the Constitution forbids the federal government from commanding the states to pass legislation or run a federal program. States must choose to do so. If states set up the exchanges, then people between 134% of the poverty line and 400% of the poverty line can get taxpayers to subsidize their insurance—with massive subsidies at 134% of poverty and trailing off as income increases—and dropping to zero at 400%. But the way the statute is written, those tax subsidies only flow through exchanges set up by a state. If a state refuses, then the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will set up the exchange, but there will be no subsidies. This issue is currently in court, where the states are very likely to prevail because of the plain wording in the statute and the clear legislative history that Democrats in Congress deliberately chose, in order to push states in the direction of choosing to create exchanges on their own. States would irrevocably surrender critical aspects of their sovereignty if they agree to either of these new programs. Once you’re in, a state’s programs must not only conform to the words of the Obamacare statute—the 2,700-page Affordable Care Act—but must also comply with all regulations issued by HHS. New regulations are coming out all the time (such as the now-infamous HHS contraception mandate), so the federal government has a blank check to profoundly change the system anytime it chooses. Among other things, healthcare providers will become subject to vast new regulatory regimes in those states. Doctors and providers in those states will be far more limited in how they can practice medicine, especially if they want to be reimbursed for their services. As a consequence, you’ll see two mass migrations after Obamacare’s major provisions go into effect in 2014. First, states that adopt these massively-expanded entitlements will become magnets for low-income people. Many will choose to move to states where they can get ‘free’ healthcare—meaning healthcare paid for by other people. Second, doctors and healthcare providers will flock to states that resist these big-government programs, since doctors will be free there to practice medicine as they know best, without bureaucratic controls. So ‘Obamacare states’ will see a growing shortage of doctors, while free-market states will see an increasing abundance of doctors. This trend will only accelerate if these states also enact medical tort reform and other pro-doctor laws.” Tony Perkins, head of the pro-life Family Research Council, says many governors are rejecting Obamacare: “As we speak, conservative governors from across the country are meeting in Nevada with one burning question on their minds. Will they bar the door from ObamaCare or give in to the temptation to join the health care exchanges in their states? Because of how the policy is structured, the road to ObamaCare leads straight through the governors’ desks. Based on the Supreme Court’s decision, the federal government has to implement the President’s program, but it cannot force states to run it. With 60 percent of states under GOP management, 180 million people have plenty of reasons for optimism.” States that have officially said no to Obamacare include Alabama, Alaska, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Undecided states include Arizona, Idaho, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. Perkins says there is a massive financial incentive for states to reject Obamacare: “That’s because there is absolutely no guarantee that the federal government will have the money to hold up its end of the bargain in states every year. That opens up these governors to huge liabilities in the future. If Washington runs out of ways to finance its 90% share of the exchange, then it will simply transfer the burden to states. Governors who agree now are permanently putting their states on the hook for the 2,700-page law and the thousands of regulations issued by HHS in the years to come.”
- “We’re gonna collapse. We won’t have to worry about the rich . . . because there’ll be no wealth,” radio host Mark Levin warns about President Obama’s new tax plan to raise $1.6 trillion over ten years, reports cnsnews.com. “[President Obama] says he wants to take—and this is his starting point—$1.6 trillion dollars out of the hands of the private sector. And the private sector is what hires and employs most people in this country, and creates wealth in this country. Not Obama. $1.6 trillion dollars over 10 years out of the private sector and give it to the government. In addition to the every year, almost $1 trillion dollars in that stimulus bill that just goes on each year. In addition to the increases across the budgets—the nonexistent budgets, but the budgets for the different departments—every single year. We’re gonna collapse. We won’t have to worry about the rich; we won’t have to worry about the middle-class. There’ll be no class, because there’ll be no wealth. You bring down people who create things in this country—the productive people—you bring down everybody. There has to be people who raise the capital to make investments, who risk everything and create employment. That’s how you create employment, that’s how you create wealth and opportunity. People raising capital, investing it, reinvesting it, taking risks, expanding. And Obama says, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa. You’ve got too much money, that’s not fair. We the government—we’ll figure out what do with it.’ And then, to make matters even worse, it will have zero impact on the debt.”
- On Nov. 15, anti-Israel protesters gathered outside of President Obama’s re-election campaign headquarters in Chicago to protest what they call “Israeli war crimes,” reports breitbarth.com. The protest was organized by the Palestine Solidarity Group, the Chicago Movement for Palestinian Rights, the U.S. Palestinian Community Network, and American Muslims for Palestine. Ahmed Rehab of the Council for American Islamic Relations, John Beacham of the Party for Socialism and Liberation/ANSWER Coalition, and friend of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Leah Bolger, the President of Veterans for Peace were featured speakers at the event. None of the speakers were short on controversial comments; however, John Beacham and Leah Bolger’s remarks “were particularly stunning.” Beacham declared, “The biggest terrorists in the world today are in the Pentagon, they’re in Washington and Tel Aviv. . . . And we can win here in the United States for Palestine, by building a movement, that shakes the foundations of this country by building international solidarity with all those who are standing up to the terrorist acts of the U.S. and Israeli Government.” Bolger echoed Beacham, asking the crowd, “You know who the real terrorists are? The United States, the people in the uniforms.” Members of the International Socialists Organization and other Marxist activists were abundant. While the protest was staged in front of President Obama’s campaign headquarters to urge the President to take a stand against Israel, protesters still voiced their support for the president, and praised his re-election over the “evil” Mitt Romney.
- The United States should support Israel in any assault against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum charged on Thursday in an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV. “We should support our ally in its ability to defend itself. Israel is defending itself against repeated attacks,” Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator and chairman of Patriot Voices, told Newsmax at Restoration Weekend in Palm Beach, Fla. “There have over 850 rockets fired this year. “Imagine if Mexico was lobbing rockets into El Paso and Tucson. We would be outraged. We would immediately tell them to either stop or we are going to go into there and clear out those areas that are beyond government control—and do it for them. That is exactly what is going on in Israel.”
- The massive shedding of jobs in light of an Obama re-election has started, reports townhall.com. Weekly jobless numbers have jumped 73,000 to 430,000 according to The Wall Street Journal. These job losses come after warning signs this week from the markets and business owners who say they can’t afford to keep employees with Obamacare and the fiscal cliff looming. Hurricane Sandy also had an effect on increasing these numbers. Sandy drove the number of people seeking unemployment benefits up to a seasonally adjusted 439,000 last week, the highest level in 18 months. The Labor Department said applications increased by 78,000 because a large number of applications were filed in states damaged by the storm. People can claim unemployment benefits if their workplaces close and they don’t get paid.
- This past summer, the Boy Scouts of America announced that they plan to maintain their ban on allowing homosexual Scout leaders. They cited the principles that the organization has maintained for over 100 years as being the reason for their decision and that official policy states, “While the B.S.A. does not proactively inquire about the sexual orientation of employees, volunteers or members, we do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the B.S.A.” In response to the Boy Scouts’ stand on traditional values, the United Parcel Service just announced that they will no longer support the Scouts and will cut all funding from them, reports lastresistance.com. In 2010, they donated $150,000 to the Boy Scouts. UPS joined with the Intel Corp in pulling their funding from BSA.
- If all 47 million food stamp recipients voted for President Obama, it would account for 75.4 percent of Obama’s 62.3 million votes, reports cnsnews.com and Worthy News. Harry Hopkins, FDR’s close adviser who ran the non-defunct Works Progress Administration, once described Roosevelt’s strategy as “tax & tax, spend & spend, elect & elect.” He believed that if Roosevelt put everyone on the federal payroll, either through aid or federal jobs, that Roosevelt would never lose. FDR won four presidential elections in a row before his death removed him from office. Did Obama use his idol’s model to win this election? Food stamps rolls have grown by nearly 50 percent, by more than 15 million recipients-under the Obama administration. During that same time, the unemployment rate has stayed the same. Either those outside of the workforce have been decimated by the Obama economy or this administration is making a conscious effort to get more Americans reliant on government. Or both. Welfare programs now cost taxpayers a record-high $750 billion. While government “charity” has grown, so has poverty—and so has the Democrats’ poll numbers.
- Months of practice and memorization will culminate in three days of intense competition at the National Bible Bee for three Iowa youngsters, reports press-citizen.com. “The closer it got, the more time I put into it. It’s pretty much all I’ve done all day for the last week or so,” said Andrew Adams, 13, of Clive, who has memorized more than 500 Bible verses in preparation for this week’s final competition in Sevierville, Tenn. He and Joshua and Taylor Bontrager, brothers from Kalona, beat out hundreds of children and teenagers from across the country for a chance to compete on the national stage. “It gives you a chance to have God’s word in your heart, and I also like the competition,” said Taylor, 10, who is participating in the event for the first time. Joshua, 15, took fourth place nationally in the junior event last year. This year he’ll compete at the senior level, which requires reciting 700 Bible verses from the books of 1 and 2 Timothy. Those competing at the junior level, including Adams, recite 500 Bible verses. Participants at the primary level, at which Taylor is competing, have to recite 300 verses. Each contestant has a set amount of time to recite a set number of verses, though they do not know until they arrive which of the verses they’ll be required to repeat. There also is a written component. “It’s been a lot of teamwork,” Andrew’s father, Garth, said of helping Andrew prepare. “There’s a lot of hard work attacking it from a lot of different angles to memorize all the verses.” Andrew, his parents and his three siblings are spending much of their drive to Tennessee practicing verses. The 300 contestants who made it to the final competition are competing for $260,000 in prize money. It’s a nice incentive, but so is the chance to grow in their faith, said Joshua and Taylor’s mom Becky. “This whole thing has been an opportunity to memorize God’s word,” she said. “It’s an opportunity for them to really work on Bible memory, grow in character and grow in their relationship with God and other people.”