Recently a storm erupted regarding the change in phrasing from “freedom of religion”, to “freedom to worship”. As the administration’s comments and speeches are vetted and approved in advance (and usually read from a prompter), it’s not simply a slip of the tongue but an intended policy change; it’s a conscious change in language, and since the phrase has been used by the President himself, it’s reasonable to conclude he is not only aware of the shift, but approves of it.
But is it a big deal?
Yes, it is. Freedom of worship implies you’re protected to enter your synagogue/church/mosque/temple and have whatever service is appropriate to your faith. But that’s all. Keep it off to the side, and most importantly, don’t allow it outside the building — that’s not protected.
Freedom of religion involves much more than worship services in a building — it involves your entire life and the manner in which you conduct it.
Some might argue it’s not a big issue, as the Constitution protects religion. So to review, here’s part of the First Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…
When courts rule a high school valedictorian can’t mention God in their speech due to the first amendment, ask yourself how “Congress” morphed into “private citizen”, and “law” morphed into “any public expression”; as courts make such an obviously incorrect atheistic view of the first amendment it highlights the importance of keeping the proper rights enshrined in the Constitution in proper focus.
So yes, it’s a significant policy shift. It’s a subtle change, but like many along the slippery slope, it’s one step down the path to eliminating God from public life.