This column by ACRU Senior Fellow Robert Knight was published December 12, 2011 in The Washington Times.
Three incidents in recent days tell us all we need to know about the Obama administration’s “values.”
On Dec. 1, the story broke that Bethesda-based Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where wounded veterans convalesce, apparently had banned visitors from bringing in Bibles or other religious items.
Walter Reed’s Chief of Staff C.W. Callahan issued a memo in September that said, “No religious items (i.e., Bibles, reading material, and/or artifacts) are allowed to be given away or used during a visit.”
Telling wounded soldiers and their families that their First Amendment freedoms have been suspended should be a firing offense.
Rep. Steve King, Iowa Republican, who serves on the House subcommittee on the Constitution, conveyed the gravity: “The idea that these soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines that have fought to defend our Constitution – and that includes our First Amendment rights to religious liberty – would be denied that religious liberty when they are lying in a hospital bed recovering from wounds incurred while defending that liberty is the most bitter and offensive type of an irony that I can think of.”
The policy was rescinded, but that it was imposed at all is a reminder of the culture President Obama has fostered in the armed forces and executive agencies, where extreme environmentalism, moral relativism and sexual immorality have replaced traditional American values. We shouldn’t really be surprised when a bureaucrat tries to bar Bibles in a U.S. military stateside hospital while other bureaucrats make sure terrorists in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, get copies of the Koran.
You almost have to feel sorry for poor Col. Callahan, who is part of the new metrosexual military, which values “diversity” more than combat readiness, so long as it doesn’t include Christianity.
Recall ArmyGen. George Casey’s comment after a Muslim extremist was charged in the slaughter of 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas, in November 2009: “Our diversity, not only in our Army, but in our country, is a strength. And as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse.”
Announcing an end to the rule, Walter Reed public affairs officer Sandy Dean said a new policy “will be written to articulate our initial intention, which was to respect religious and cultural practices of our patients.” Say what?
Ms. Dean went on to insist that the policy was “in no way meant to prohibit family members from providing religious items to their loved ones at all.”
But that’s exactly what it said. Time for Groucho’s defense when caught in the act: “Are you going to believe me or your lying eyes?”
Here’s more from the hapless Ms. Dean: “We appreciate Congressman King bringing this to our attention. We don’t want our instructions to be ambiguous.”
Ambiguity is not the problem. It’s the Obama administration’s hostility to religion, except for Islam.
From the prevarications that helped sell Obamacare, to the lies surrounding Operation Fast and Furious, to the periodic emissions of horse pucky about Mr .Obama’s “evolving” view of marriage while he’s sabotaging the Defense of Marriage Act, it’s getting so bad that Obama administration spokesmen really should consider donning Groucho noses, glasses and mustaches. That would help disguise them, at least, and pave their way to enter the Witness Protection Program.
The second news item was Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s speech in Geneva on Tuesday, announcing that American taxpayers will be paying for homosexual activism around the world through a $3 million Global Equality Fund. That’s right. In a time when the United States is facing massive debt, plus a rising China and militant Islam, we’re going to use foreign aid money to promote “gay rights” to the world. Speaking to a crowd of diplomats, many of whom do not equate race or ethnicity with volitional sexual behavior that has moral implications, Mrs. Clinton urged everyone to come around to her point of view, saying, “I come here before you with respect, understanding and humility.” (Now do what I tell you.)
Once upon a time, foreign aid was allocated as an incentive for other nations to support the interests and security of the United States. Countries did not get the money if they worked with our enemies. But now, under left-wing Democrats, foreign aid is a tool to force a radical agenda on the rest of the world, regardless of America’s interests. I’m waiting for protest marches and cries of “cultural imperialism” from the Occupy This Squalid Dump crowd, but I think I might be waiting forever.
The third item is the Food and Drug Administration’s evil idea to allow the Plan B “morning-after pill” to be sold over the counter to anyone – regardless of age. After the story hit the fan, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius issued a directive on Wednesday to stop it. Plan B, which can act as an abortifacient, will continue to be sold over the counter without a prescription to anyone at least 17 years old. But 10-year-olds won’t be able to slip it onto the counter next to their gummy bears.
Is it really necessary to explain why children should not be allowed to buy a powerful drug? Should it be necessary to explain why wounded soldiers who risked their lives should be allowed to receive Bibles from their families, or why many Americans don’t want their country exporting the values of Sodom and Gomorrah instead of Valley Forge?
In Obama’s America, yes.