"It would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe, who presides in the councils of nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that His benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes, and may enable every instrument employed in its administration to execute with success the functions allotted to his charge," said Washington.
"In tendering this homage to the Great Author of every public and private good, I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own, nor those of my fellow-citizens at large less than either," Washington continued. "No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than those of the United States."
Seven and a half years later, in his Farewell Address, Washington argued that liberty itself was at risk in a nation where oaths were taken without "religious obligation."
"Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice?" said Washington. "And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle."
At his first inaugural, Obama delivered a far different vision of America. "For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness," Obama said. "We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and nonbelievers."
Nonbelievers? George Washington believed Americans duty-bound to "acknowledge and adore" God and that the nation could not maintain its morality if it turned away from Him. Obama called on Americans to celebrate nonbelief as part of our "patchwork heritage of strength."
In his first term, Obama became the first president to sign federal legislation commanding individuals to buy a good or service (health insurance). Chief Justice John Roberts became the first justice to write an opinion arguing that the Constitution gives the federal government the power to do this.
Obama's administration has declared that sterilizations, contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs are among the goods and services Americans must pay for through their government-mandated health insurance.
The administration is now arguing in federal court that the First Amendment right to "free exercise" of religion does not prevent the government from forcing Christians to pay for these things even when it violates their consciences and the doctrines of their faith.
Obama will soon swear a third time to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. Whether he uses a Bible or not, he will be lying under oath.
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