Tags: Exclusive Interviews | ralph reed | obama | religion

Ralph Reed: Obama is Not a Friend of Religious Freedom

By Cathy Burke   |   Thursday, 06 Feb 2014 06:09 PM

President Obama’s declaration at Thursday’s National Prayer Breakfast that “no nation on earth does more to stand up for the freedom of religion around the world than the United States” glosses over the kind of discrimination that Americans of faith face, Ralph Reed charged.

In an exclusive interview with John Bachman on Newsmax TV's "America's Forum," the conservative activist and chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition said Thursday that Obama “has all too often taken a posture either rhetorically or in terms of public policy” that hasn’t “advanced religious freedom.”

“For example, [he] has used the language of ‘freedom of worship’ rather than ‘freedom of religion’,” Reed said. “We believe freedom of religion goes far beyond a right to worship.”

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Reed used the example of the rare revocation of an Oscar nomination for the title song for the Christian movie “Alone Yet Not Alone” after a composer emailed some members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences about the entry.

“This is simply a selective enforcement of the rule, it's unfair, it's wrong, and it has the effect, if not the intention, of discriminating against a faith-based film in Hollywood,” Reed said. “It wasn't preventing anybody from attending a worship service, but [the discrimination] still marginalizes the voice of faith.”

He also noted Obama’s trip to Turkey, where he said the nation does not consider itself a Christian nation, could have led to a dangerous misunderstanding.

“Certainly if what he meant by that is we're not a theocracy, we would all agree with that,” Reed said. “But when you stand on the soil of a Muslim country and say, ‘we're not a Christian nation,’ they misunderstand that to mean that we don't hold those values.”

Reed said he doesn’t believe the president’s language is ever “accidental,” pointing specifically to Obama’s speech in Cairo in 2009 where “he extended an olive branch to the Muslim world, and he compared Israel's sovereignty over the West Bank … to apartheid and to an illegal occupation.”

“You’d have to believe that everybody who saw the president's speeches before they were delivered was ignorant of its meaning to think that this is happening by accident,” he said.

Reed also blasted the United Nations as an “institution that has not historically shown a great deal of sympathy for or support for orthodox faith,” particularly the Roman Catholic Church – as evidenced by a scathing UN committee report Wednesday that slammed the Vatican for its attitudes toward homosexuality, contraception and abortion.

“What they really want to do is hobble and hamstring the Catholic Church's voice in the public square on issues related to life, the sanctity of marriage, and what Pope John Paul II called a culture of life, and this is just something they use as an excuse to do so,” Reed charged.

“[The Catholic Church is] ministering to people, caring for people, not turning anybody away regardless of faith, regardless of color, ethnic background or, frankly, whether they're gay or straight or wherever they came from, and for the United Nations to attack the Catholic Church is really an outrage.”

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