Not all of the comments made by President Obama in his interview with Bill Maher on November 4 were aired on Maher’s HBO show. Fortunately, the ones that were cut are available on YouTube. Here are some statements made by Obama that were not aired:
“I think we should foster a culture in which people’s private religious beliefs, including atheists and agnostics, are respected and that’s the kind of culture that I think allows all of us to believe in what we want. That’s freedom of conscience. It’s what the Constitution guarantees and where we get into problems typically is when our personal religious faith or the community of faith that we participate in tips the fundamentalist extremism in which it’s not enough for us to believe what we believe but we start feeling obligated to hit you over the head because you don’t believe the same thing or to treat you as somebody who’s less than I am.”
This is remarkable for several reasons. The man Obama said this to is a raging anti-Catholic bigot; he has relentlessly used his show to portray all priests as predators. Maher obviously does not respect people of faith, especially Catholics, yet Obama spoke to him as if he were a Boy Scout. This demonstrates how utterly vacuous his comments are.
Obama cannot claim to be ignorant of Maher’s vulgar attacks on Catholics, especially priests. We know this because he bragged to Maher how often he watches his show. Those who say that Obama is simply laughing at Maher’s jokes, and is not condoning bigotry, need to ask whether Obama would be as forgiving if the jokes were made about African Americans. No one could seriously believe that to be true.
Obama’s embrace of conscience rights is also phony. In 2009, he told the graduating class at the University of Notre Dame that when considering healthcare policies, we need to “honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion, and draft a sensible conscience clause.” If he had made good on his pledge, the Little Sisters of the Poor wouldn’t have been forced to sue him.
When Obama talks about “fundamentalist extremism,” he only notes religious extremists (even then he is careful when speaking about radical Islamists), never acknowledging the role that secular fundamentalists have played. Who does he think was responsible for the totalitarian carnage of the 20th century? Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot were not animated by religious extremism—they committed genocide in the name of atheism.
The biggest mistake Obama made was giving legitimacy to a hater. That he did so speaks volumes about his alleged sensitivity to bashing people of faith.