U.S. President Barack Obama has pleased some religiously motivated activists in his first week in office and angered others, setting the stage for “culture war battles” to come.
Obama courted voters of faith during his election and several groups were pleased by his decision on Thursday to close Guantanamo prison and bar harsh interrogation techniques of terrorism suspects that critics said amounted to torture.
“The religious community has labored faithfully for three years to end U.S.-sponsored torture. We are grateful today for this important step,” said Linda Gustitus, president of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture.
Some of the most active critics of the detention policies of former president George W. Bush were drawn from the faith community and included centrist evangelicals, Catholics and Jewish groups.
But Friday’s move by Obama to lift restrictions on U.S. government funding for groups that provide abortion services or counseling abroad, reversing a key social policy of his Republican predecessor, has roiled religious conservatives. You can see our report here.