Phyllis Schlafly is co-author, with George Neumayr, of No Higher Power: Obama’s War on Religious Freedom. She discusses the Department of Health and Human Services abortion-inducing drug, contraception, and sterilization mandate.
KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ: Why is the unanimous Supreme Court ruling in the Hosanna-Tabor case involving an Evangelical Lutheran school so instructive about the Obama administration?
PHYLLIS SCHLAFLY: It shows how extreme the Obama administration is in demanding that institutions built and financed by religious groups must submit to federal control and regulation.
LOPEZ: You say that “Obama’s approach to Islam is one of tolerance and accommodation, even as he steps up his stiff-arming of Christians.” Why is this important? Is there a danger it feeds conspiracy theories?
SCHLAFLY: Obama’s attitude toward Islam shows a sharp contrast to his attitude toward Christianity in particular and religion in general.
LOPEZ: Is this administration’s view of religious liberty best described as “secular arrogance”? What does that mean exactly and what does it represent?
SCHLAFLY: “Secular arrogance” is a good term to describe his arrogance, persistence, and the totality of his attempt to banish religion from public places, buildings, and schools.
LOPEZ: Can you call it secular arrogance when the HHS mandate, for one thing, comes right from a Catholic secretary of Health and Human Services?
SCHLAFLY: Kathleen Sebelius may call herself a Catholic but her actions go directly against the teachings of the Catholic Church. We actually devote a whole chapter in No Higher Power to how Obama has been supported by the Christian left, whose leaders give him moral cover for an otherwise secularist agenda.
LOPEZ: “If you don’t want to underwrite the contraception-driven promiscuity of your employees, well, too, bad, says Obama, in effect.” Should employers be in the business of judging their employees’ personal lives? And what about the women who are prescribed contraceptives for hormone therapy or other conditions?
SCHLAFLY: Nobody is asking employers to judge or control their employees’ personal lives. The issue is whether Obama can force employers to pay for devices and procedures they believe are immoral and contrary to their religious faith.
LOPEZ: Why do you focus so much on the “Church in America bred her own destroyer” narrative?
SCHLAFLY: Every detail about a president is fascinating to the American people. We want to know where he came from and how he got to be president. Why the secrecy?
LOPEZ: Why do you reprint Cardinal Dolan’s letter on the HHS Mandate to brother bishops?
SCHLAFLY: Dolan’s letter is a clear statement of the issues and the assault on religious freedom.
LOPEZ: Why is there any value in still talking about Bill Ayers in relation to Barack Obama when we have almost a four-year presidential record to focus on now?
SCHLAFLY: It’s important to know who the president’s friends are. Ayers spent his post-Weatherman career training college students to accept Obama’s worldview.
LOPEZ: Why are some conservatives so obsessed with czars?
SCHLAFLY: Obama’s czars exercise executive power without proper oversight and without Senate confirmation. These people are not in the mainstream. For example, one thinks dogs should have lawyers and says the government should own the body parts of very ill patients. Another says Mao is her favorite political philosopher.
LOPEZ: What does “social justice” have to do with math?
SCHLAFLY: Bill Ayers and teachers trained in “social justice” weave that indoctrination throughout the curriculum, even in math. “Social justice” means teaching kids they live in an oppressive, unjust, racist society, which is false.
LOPEZ: Is it partially the fault of conservatives that the Left has co-opted the phrase? In debating budgets and other policy matters, does the Left simply do a better job connecting the debate to the lives of Americans? Do we need to be better communicators, more compassionate communicators?
SCHLAFLY: The Left is clever in redefining words to sell their policies. Conservatives have done a good job of explaining that “liberal” is a bad word, and now they should go after “social justice.” That’s why it’s important to talk about its leading advocate, Bill Ayers.
LOPEZ: Why is Michael Urbanski so important?
SCHLAFLY: This Obama-appointed federal judge suggested that the Ten Commandments be censored down to six commandments. Another federal judge, David Hamilton, who had ruled that the Indiana state legislature could not mention Christ in its prayer but could mention Allah, was promoted by Obama to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
LOPEZ: “‘Social justice’ is the secular substitute for Christian morality and ethics, and will be used in a second Obama term to further the advance of the state against free markets and the free exercise of religion.” How can you be so sure?
SCHLAFLY: As Patrick Henry said, “I know of no way of judging the future but by the past.” A second term will be the same, only more so.
LOPEZ: How does President Obama “measure” progress not by adherence to the Constitution but by infidelity to it?
SCHLAFLY: Nine state attorneys general joined in a statement listing 21 unconstitutional or unlawful Obama actions. Since that statement in March, Obama has committed several more important unconstitutional actions.
LOPEZ: Why would the creation of a national student database be “ominous”? Couldn’t we learn a lot from it?
SCHLAFLY: Building a longitudinal database of all children is the action of a totalitarian government, like the notorious “dangan” or dossier the Chinese Communist government keeps on every citizen. Twenty years ago, the New York Times ran a picture of a Chinese building that contained millions of manila folders (that was pre-Internet) with all sorts of information on each child, following each child through school and then turning the file over to his employer.
LOPEZ: Is it a bit much to compare President Obama to Stalin and Mao, and describe him as “acting like the generalissimo of a military junta”? Among other things, do you run the risk of losing people? It doesn’t quite seem believable . . . this kind of thing doesn’t happen in America. And wouldn’t more people be noticing if it were?
SCHLAFLY: No Higher Power is not based on speculation. It just sets forth facts about Obama’s words and actions with their dates.
LOPEZ: “Obama’s America is one of state bankrolled radical individualism — of what’s in it for me?” Is that entirely fair? There are some good intentions there and even some compelling arguments about making sure poor women have the help they need, for one? Can you be pro-life and want to cut funding for Planned Parenthood and community health centers? It’s not only abortion and contraception they provide.
SCHLAFLY: One of the best explanations of Obama is “The Life of Julia,” which was put on the Internet by Obama, not his critics. It shows what Obama is after: making the majority of Americans dependent on government handouts. That is not good or fair or helpful.
LOPEZ: Is it irresponsible to be talking about civil disobedience?
SCHLAFLY: I suggest readers go to see the movie For Greater Glory and learn some history about Mexico’s attempt to secularize that country in the 1920s.
LOPEZ: Even if the government does not throw priests, pastors, and rabbis in jail — if the mandate is ignored by those who can’t in good conscience obey it, fines are not paid, and the government just lets that be and doesn’t enforce the law — would we still have a problem?
SCHLAFLY: Americans are generally a law-abiding people. We believe in the rule of law. Yes, it is a big problem when laws are widely disobeyed or ignored.
LOPEZ: What does gay marriage have to do with the Equal Rights Amendment?
SCHLAFLY: The text of ERA, “equality of rights . . . on account of sex,” would have been construed to put same-sex marriage in the U.S. Constitution. This was one of the main reasons ERA was defeated by the American people.
LOPEZ: Why is Barack Obama’s new position on gay marriage all that important when we’ve figured all along it was in fact his true position?
SCHLAFLY: Obama’s public position is more important than his private beliefs. Our book is based on his actual words and actions, and the actions of his administration.
LOPEZ: How have the religious liberties of Americans in the military been restricted? Is this one of the under-covered stories of our day?
SCHLAFLY: Did you know that Walter Reed Hospital issued an order that families could not bring a Bible when visiting a wounded or dying soldier? Thankfully, after Representative Steve King reported this to the House, it was rescinded.
LOPEZ: Is what’s going on right now in the fight over the HHS mandate and the Obama administration’s view of religious liberty a whole new step in the battle you’ve been fighting for decades now?
SCHLAFLY: I’ve spent most of my career trying to protect the Constitution from all enemies, both foreign and domestic.
LOPEZ: Much of this “war on women” rhetoric is a cynical scare tactic to ensure that single women vote Democrat this November. Democrats are scared because women didn’t fall in line in the midterms, so now they have to paint Mitt Romney and John Boehner as the enemy of women. What’s your advice to the single women of America, maybe some who have been educated to believe you have been their enemy?
SCHLAFLY: Well, let us look to the “ideal” life for women that the Obama campaign painted in “The Life of Julia.” This narrative shows a woman who has no independence because she is dependent on the government from the time she starts school through retirement. It seems that the Democrats are waging the real war on women by attempting to take away their independence. I have always been a supporter of a woman’s right to make her own decision and I will always continue to be. I have always been a strong believer in a woman’s right to think for herself, which together with faith, family, and hard work, are the recipe for a better life.