Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Sunday 07 March |
Saint of the Day: Sts Perpetua and Felicity
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

Obama Administration Changes “Freedom of Worship” to “Freedom of Religion” on Naturalization Tests

DHS Naturalization Ceremony-cc

Philip Kosloski - published on 04/11/16

Sen. James Lankford cites "important distinction" in phrases

In a surprising revision coming from the Obama administration, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has changed its wording on religious freedom in its naturalization test materials. The DHS recently granted a request from Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) to change the words “freedom of worship” to “freedom of religion” in relation to First Amendment rights.

Lankford wrote to the Obama administration last year, explaining how the words used to describe religious freedom on the naturalization tests, which were changed in 2008, were not inclusive enough. He wrote, “Not only is ‘freedom of worship’ inconsistent with the text of the Amendment proposed 226 years ago today, saying that ‘freedom of worship’ is more inclusive than ‘freedom of religion’ flies in the face of a pillar upon which our entire nation was founded.”

The senator went on to write, “Our forefathers came to America to have freedom of religion, not simply freedom of worship. … Worship confines you to a location. Freedom of religion is the right to exercise your religious beliefs  it is the ability for Americans to live out their faith or to choose to have no faith at all.”

Lankford demanded an immediate change of wording, and even though the DHS originally declined his request, upon further review they concluded that it was “feasible.”

This is a change for the Obama administration as the president has repeatedly used the words “freedom of worship” in his public speeches instead of “freedom of religion.”

Senator Lankford praised the decision, saying, “I applaud the Department of Homeland Security for listening to me and deciding to change their material to reflect our First Amendment right of freedom of religion,” said Lankford. “At first glance, it appears like a small matter, but it is actually an important distinction for the Constitution and the First Amendment. The ‘freedom of religion’ language reflects our right to live a life of faith at all times, while the ‘freedom of worship’ reflects a right simply confined to a particular space and location.”

Tags:
Religious Freedom
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
GUARDIAN ANGEL
Philip Kosloski
10 Mysterious things to know about guardian angels
2
tabernacle
Philip Kosloski
5 Important things to notice in a Catholic church
3
POPE AUDIENCE
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Do you know the 3 words that describe God’s style? Pope Fra...
4
Ziggurat of Ur
John Burger
Pope’s trip to Iraq is like a pilgrimage to a Holy Land
5
SAINT JOSEPH AND CHILD JESUS
Philip Kosloski
10 Things you should know about St. Joseph
6
WEB2-MANIFESTATIONS-BIRMANIE-TWITTER.jpg
John Burger
Nun and monk put themselves between police and protesters in Myan...
7
ANGEL
Philip Kosloski
Should you name your Guardian Angel?
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.