The Obamas do not believe that religion belongs in politics. But they are convinced that left-wing politics belongs in religion. Under their philosophy, the religious may not "impose" traditional moral views in the public square, but Democrats are free to politicize pulpits.
Michelle Obama spelled this view out in a speech, delivered from a pulpit, at the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Nashville, Tennessee last month.
"To anyone who says that church is no place to talk about these issues, you tell them there is no place better -- no place better," said Michelle Obama. "Because ultimately, these are not just political issues -- they are moral issues. They're issues that have to do with human dignity and human potential, and the future we want for our kids and our grandkids."
The Obamas' interest in religion is in direct proportion to their ability to manipulate it for leftist ends. Otherwise, "church is not their thing," as their old pastor Jeremiah Wright put it to author Edward Klein in The Amateur. Wright told Klein that the Obamas were secularists whose interest in his church was wholly political.
The Obamas have no problem barging into churches for election-year speeches, but woe to the traditional churches that try to influence politics. The price of admission Obama sets for that privilege is docile acceptance of his secularism. Those unwilling to pay that price can expect their schools, hospitals, and charities to go out of business.
"I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison, and his successor will die a martyr in the public square," Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago, was quoted as saying in 2010 as he envisioned America's future under an aggressively secularist federal government.
Catholic hospital directories may soon become "souvenirs," he said, alluding to the realistic scenario of Catholic hospitals closing their doors after Obama's contraceptive/abortifacient mandate kicks in.
The Supreme Court's upholding of Obamacare brought that day much closer. Americans are now looking at fines of $2,000 per employee, starting in 2013 if they object to the HHS mandate.
While it is possible one of the First Amendment challenges to the HHS mandate could stop it in the courts, the chances of that appear dim in light of the conservative bloc's shakiness.
Moreover, the "living Constitution" -- which remains the prevailing theory on the court -- rests upon ACLU-friendly secularist assumptions. Obama's secularist tyranny of the minority that prizes "freedom from religion" over freedom for religion stands regnant.
Under the strictures of Obamacare, the choice before churches is: learn to live in Obama's Brave New World or face government liquidation. Obamacare's tax police will be watching for their decision.
"Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest," said the Parisian thinker Denis Diderot who provided many of the arguments for the secularist French Revolution.
Obama is the heir to this tradition. He considers the fulfillment of "progress" unattainable without first driving the traditionally religious from the public square.
The French Revolutionaries accomplished this by violence; Obama seeks it by statute. Under his HHS policy, only religions that exclusively serve their own are considered "religious organizations." By defining religion in this outrageously narrow way, he conveniently leaves the public square all to himself and his secularist allies.
The largest religion on earth is not even a "religious organization," according to Obama, as it has the gall to feed, clothe, and educate non-Catholics. In Obamaland, the Amish are "religious." The Little Sisters of the Poor are not.
This perverse ordering of society flows from a radical ideology that holds government as greater than God and as the determiner of "rights." Religion is "the opiate of the masses," sneered Karl Marx, who believed this drug would dissipate as the socialist state replaced God.
Obama's view of religion is essentially the same. As he said in 2008, religion is a consolation for the "bitter" and economically frustrated. Obama thereby implied that once socialism had cured man of his bitterness by granting him free health care and other state-provided goodies he would no longer cling to God.
But until that day, religion is an instrument to be harnessed for socialist and libertine purposes, according to Obama. Hence, his wife's presence in that Nashville pulpit. Religion exists for the state, as he sees it, not the state for the religious.