President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have both promised the American people that they will fight to preserve and uphold religious freedom in the country, but both have also faced sharp criticism for their stance on key religious issues.
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Obama has professed his Christian faith multiple times, and attends Evergreen Chapel at Camp David near Washington, D.C., for worship.
"I believe in the redemptive death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I believe that that faith gives me a path to be cleansed of sin and have eternal life. But most importantly, I believe in the example that Jesus set by feeding the hungry and healing the sick and always prioritizing the least of these over the powerful," Obama declared in Jan. 2008 to Christianity Today.
On his official campaign website, the president has an entire section devoted to religion called People of Faith. On it, he highlights his commitment to religious freedom, and has a video massage where he narrates the history of religion in America and re-states his pledge to defend religious liberties.
"In a changing world, my commitment to protecting religious liberty is and always will be unwavering. As American's diversity grows, we have a chance to reaffirm the pluralism that has defined us as a nation. A pluralism expansive enough to protect the rights of all to speak their minds and to follow their conscious," Obama says in the ad.
Evangelical Christians, however, have questioned Obama for his stance on issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion, which they say goes against traditional Christian beliefs. Back in May, Obama declared his support for same-sex marriage, and has refused to defend the Defense of Marriage Act signed by former President Bill Clinton. Obama is also a pro-choice president, and has said that he will defend the Roe vs. Wade 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the country.
Catholic institutions are also suing the Obama administration over the HHS contraception mandate that he has pushed for. The legislation forces religious employers to provide birth control insurance to employees, which is against Roman Catholic doctrine. The White House has said that some churches who meet certain requirements may be exempted from the mandate, but Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Archbishop of New York, has spoken out strongly against the plan.
"I worry that members of [Obama's] administration might not particularly understand our horror at the restricted nature of the exemption that they're giving us, that for the first time we can remember, a bureau of the federal government seems to be radically intruding on what the term of a church is," Dolan remarked, adding that if pressed to offer this insurance, some Catholic Charities may even have to stop their services to the poor and needy.
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SOURCE: Christian Post