On Religious Freedom, the Pope and the President Speak Different Languages
by BRIAN FRAGA
Pope Francis called conscientious objection a ‘human right’ on his flight back to Rome, on the same day that President Obama told an LGBT Democratic Party fundraiser that gay rights trump religious freedom.
The contrast could not have been more striking.
As he flew to Rome on Sunday, following his six-day visit to the United States, Pope Francis said conscientious objection is “a human right” when a reporter asked him for comment about religious liberty in the context of government officials, as in the case of Kim Davis, a county clerk in Kentucky who objects to issuing licenses for same-sex marriages.
“And, Holy Father, do you also support those individuals, including government officials, who say they cannot in good conscience, their own personal conscience, abide by some laws or discharge their duties as government officials, for example in issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples? Do you support those kinds of claims of religious liberty?” questioned ABC News correspondent Terry Moran.
“I can’t have in mind all cases that can exist about conscientious objection,” the Pope replied, a couple of days before Davis’ attorney announced that the Holy Father met Davis during a private audience in Washington. “But, yes, I can say conscientious objection is a right that is a part of every human right. It is a right. And if a person does not allow others to be a conscientious objector, he denies a right.”
But while Pope Francis affirmed traditional marriage and conscience rights, President Barack Obama spoke Sunday at an LBGT Democratic Party fundraiser in New York and declared that religious freedom cannot be invoked to deny constitutional rights that include the rights of same-sex couples to civilly marry.
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