Opinion

Obama leaves out “by their Creator” from the Declaration. Does it matter?

It was certainly reassuring to see the President and First Lady coming out of St. John’s Episcopal Church last Sunday.  With all the confusion about the President’s religion, we can be sure that that very liberal historic parish will provide a warm welcome to the First Family.  And they’re unlikely to hear anything as unsettling as “God d____ America” coming from St. John’s elegantly carved pulpit.

Folk wisdom tells us there are no atheists in foxholes. President Obama has surely been feeling like a combat soldier in recent weeks.  With all the heavy criticisms raining down on him like incoming mortar shells, and with his own team members seeming to run away from him on the field of political combat, the President needs all the prayers he can get.  Cynics might say that this is another battlefield conversion, that Barack Obama never felt the need for such fellowship when he was above 70% in the polls.  In those halcyon days, Newsweek editor Evan Thomas was hailing Obama as “a sort of God.”  No more.

But just when you thought it was safe for a President to slip back into the pew, Barack Obama started a whole new round of speculation about what he really believes.  He was addressing the Congressional Hispanic Caucus last week.  He began to recite key passages of the Declaration of Independence when he slipped up.  Or did he?

He enumerated the “certain inalienable rights part” beautifully. He even listed the right to life.  Hmmm.  How does that comport with an ObamaCare law that, if not repealed, will subsidize abortion and thus deny the right to life to millions yet unborn?  Well, Barack Obama is hardly the only liberal who manages to declare such pesky questions “above my pay grade.”

The trouble came when Mr. Obama omitted “by their Creator” from his litany of endowed inalienable rights.  The White House is trying to tamp down any controversy.

The President was merely paraphrasing. Don’t try to read anything into this is the administration line.

But it does matter. The Weekly Standard’s Jeffrey Anderson certainly thinks it does:

On Friday evening, when President Obama addressed the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, he quoted that passage as follows (on the clip at 22:30): “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal [pause], endowed with certain unalienable rights: life and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” In Obama’s version, there is no “Creator.” Only two plausible explanations spring to mind.  One is that President Obama isn’t very familiar with the most famous passage in the document that founded this nation; that even when plainly reading from a teleprompter, he wasn’t able to quote it correctly.  The other is that President Obama doesn’t subscribe to the Declaration’s rather central claim that our rights come from our “Creator” (also referred to in the Declaration as “Nature’s God” and “the Supreme Judge of the World”). Only the president likely knows for certain which of these two explanations is true, or whether perhaps there is another.  His nearly 4-second pause before he omits reference to our Creator, however, is peculiar.  He stares at the teleprompter, purses his lips, blinks several times — as if confused, disturbed, and/or in the process of making a decision — and then proceeds to use his alternate wording.