Phyllis Schlafly has written a new book, No Higher Power: Obama’s War on Religious Freedom. If you’re like me, your reaction to that news is: Phyllis Schlafly is still alive? Yes, the 87-year-old conservative activist is not only still around, but out on book tour, making the case that Obama is a secularist who hates God. (She and Frank Gaffney really need to sit down and hash out whether Obama is a secularist, a Muslim, or a God-hating Muslim.)
One claim that Schlafly and others on the Religious Right repeatedly make is that Obama omits the word “Creator” whenever he quotes from the Declaration of Independence. (As in, “they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights…”) Selective hearing appears to be a key characteristic of what might be termed the Religious Right’s Obama Derangement Syndrome. For more than three years, they have also been up in arms about the idea that Obama has rhetorically replaced the principle of “freedom of religion” with “freedom of worship,” thus signaling a much more limited approach to protecting religious belief and practice.
These are curious charges. Curiouser still is the fact that they continue to be repeated despite the ease with which they could be checked by going to the tape or the transcript. A review of White House transcripts, for instance, will tell you that George W. Bush employed the phrase “freedom of worship” more often than Obama has—and to the consternation of exactly no one.
As for the supposed “Creator” controversy? The folks over at People for the American Way threw together a short video with clips of Obama quoting the Declaration of Independence—including the word “Creator”—on multiple occasions. Surprised?