Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Obama's war on liberty

There is a fascinating story over at Crikey drawing attention to US President Obama's remorseless war on basic rights.

Obama is not just attacking religious liberty!

Crikey, one of Australia's independent news websites, is not exactly republican central: far from it!

And so no, the article is not talking about Obama's attempt to force religious organizations to take out health insurance for sterilizations, abortions and contraception.

It is not talking about the Obama Administration's opposition to a conscience clause for military chaplains, so they can't be forced to perform same sex marriages.

Rather, it is pointing to the Administration's draconian approach in other areas.  The article draws attention to the hypocrisy of progressives who fail to oppose what it describes as an agenda of censorship and surveillance.

It points, amongst other items in a longish list, to persecution of whistle blowers and journalists relying on leaks, and to extension of surveillance without warrant or court approval in the name of fighting terrorism that go way beyond anything the Bush regime introduced.


The article draws attention to the massive civilian casualties inflicted by drone weapons in the secret war in Yemen.  And to the Executive Order aimed at any critics of the regime there:

"On Wednesday last week, Obama issued an executive order that would seize the assets of anyone who “directly or indirectly threaten[s] the peace, security, or stability of Yemen”. This refers to the government of Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, the former vice-president who replaced long-time dictator and US ally Ali Abdullah Saleh in February. Hadi is nominally committed to a transition to democracy after a bizarre one-candidate election, but Saleh’s family and key supporters remain in control of crucial sectors of the régime like the security forces.

US policy has primarily aimed at ramping up its full-scale war inside Yemen against al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula, which Hadi has enthusiastically supported. Now, any critics of Hadi potentially face a crippling financial blockade — not very different to the one imposed by Visa and Mastercard on WikiLeaks at the behest of the administration."

Bring on the US election!


Carob_molasses said...

Kate, I agree on Obama assaulting basic rights by instituting free-floating regimes of murder, torture, imprisonment without trial, assasination across the world. Its horrible, and in the US apparently bipartisan. In Australia, the only people who have called him (and Australia for its support) on it systematically are the Greens (e.g. Bob Brown hammering Australian participation in torture in Abu Ghraib in senate estimates in 2004-2006). Welcome to the horror of lefties like me, at seeing a world sliding into permanent shadow-state dictatorship, while the circus of party politics continues in the foreground, and the conservatives provide moral panic 'values' distractions.

But you need to be more careful on the gay marriage military thing. Chaplains are employed to do the religious services of their religion by the armed services. They cant go beyond it or play games with it. If e.g. a Rabbi wants to start marrying buddhists, he has to rethink presenting himself as a rabbi to the military for employment. If a denomination is OK with gay marriage, then a celebrant employed in their name by the armed services should deal with conscience issues by getting out, or realigning confessions. Another analogy: it is analogous to the formula used to hound progressive catholics (e.g. Curran) from theology posts - they are employed to teach the Catholic faith, not their own opinion. If they cant teach the catholic faith, get out. Likewise, a Quaker or Unitarian Universalist is nowadays employed to do inter alia, gay marraige. If that causes conscience problems, get out, and dont represent oneself as a celebrant of that confession.

This point isnt clear in any of the things you linked to, and it seems a republican beat-up, a non-issue.

Feel free to cut out or edit this post to make it suitably tame for your readership, while preserving the notions of the second paragraph.

Kate Edwards said...

Caob - If it was just a matter of different denominations doing there own thing it wouldn't be an issue.

The concern is that the Administration is going further than that, potentially forcing chaplains to act against the beliefs of their church, ecclesial community or religion.

That is why a conscience clause is needed.

Anonymous said...

Kate, there is no doubt that a conscience clause is needed, especially since the Aministration began fiddling with it. But, there the fight is about the contraception mandate and not about same-gender 'marriage'. Why? Marriage was explicitly defined in federal law as a union of one man and one woman.