At a “Faith and Freedom” rally that preceded the Republican National Convention in Tampa, religious right leader Phyllis Schlafly offered up a pack of lies and half-truths to the crowd about Obama’s record on religious liberty. This is all part of the right’s “ZOMG, Obama is going to destroy Christianity” offensive (a perfect word, in both senses). James Rainey counts them down:
Schlafly, speaking Sunday at the historic Tampa Theater, began with the canard about Obama refusing to use the word “creator” when he quotes from the Declaration of Independence. Only problem: anyone with YouTube access can readily find multiple clips of Obama quoting the “endowed by their creator” language.
She then rolled out the half-truth about Obama refusing to mention God in his Thanksgiving Day address. While literally true, the claim ignores the fact that he did mention God in his written message to the nation and that past presidents of both parties had a mixed record of bringing the Almighty into Turkey Day discourse. Even Dana Perino, former spokeswoman to President George W. Bush and current Fox News host, said she found the Thanksgiving Day claim against Obama a stretch.
Really rolling at this point with the crowd’s approval, Schlafly told how Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C., where veterans and active-duty military receive medical treatment, had effectively banned Bibles.
The conservative gadfly forgot a couple of points: Obama had nothing to do with the rule. The military issued the directive to prevent proselytizing and never enforced it, before realizing it had erred.
She also claimed that Obama “would not allow the traditional White House celebration of the National Day of Prayer.” That’s another half-truth. Obama did not host an event at the White House but he did issue a proclamation, as every president has for the last 60 years. Reagan and the first President Bush only held one such event in their time in office, but I doubt Schlafly declared them to be enemies of Christianity because of it.
The religious right might as well make their motto “We’re immune to facts.”