Take A Stand Against Attacks On Religious Freedom

Rockford/Freeport, Il – (ProLifeCorner.com) – 5-29-2012 – by James – Will The People Of Rockford and the surrounding area take a stand against the growing attacks on religious freedom?  Come out on June 8 — the 223rd anniversary of the day James Madison introduced the Bill of Right in Congress — and pray for our Christian Churches and our country.

When: Friday, June 8 at Noon
Site: For Rockford at the corner of East State Street and Alpine in Rockford. For questions contact Kevin Rilott 815-965-3809

For Freeport at Debate Square, 114 E. Douglas, Freeport, IL  For questions contact Terry Gogel 815-297-0231

Religious Liberty Under Attack—Concrete Examples

Is our most cherished freedom truly under threat? Sadly, it is. This is not a theological or legal dispute without real world consequences.

Consider the following:

HHS mandate for contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs. The mandate of the Department of Health and Human Services has received wide attention and has been met with our vigorous and united opposition. In an unprecedented way, the federal government will both force religious institutions to facilitate and fund a product contrary to their own moral teaching and purport to define which religious institutions are “religious enough” to merit protection of their religious liberty. These features of the “preventive services” mandate amount to an unjust law. As Archbishop-designate William Lori of Baltimore, Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, testified to Congress: “This is not a matter of whether contraception may be prohibited by the government. This is not even a matter of whether contraception may be supported by the government. Instead, it is a matter of whether religious people and institutions may be forced by the government to provide coverage for contraception or sterilization, even if that violates their religious beliefs.”

Government control of church employee’s.  In the case of Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Eric Holder’s DOJ argued that a church cannot fire an employee for acting contrary to church teaching, and contrary to an employment contract that incorporates that teaching. A teacher filed a complaint to the government about how the school handled her narcolepsy, which presumably would involve sleeping at work. The church school then fired the teacher because the church forbids lawsuits among believers based on 1 Corinthians 6:1-8. (“But instead, one brother takes another to court—and this in front of unbelievers!”) This particular Lutheran church had well established dispute resolution mechanisms within the church, and based on church teaching. Instead, the teacher went to the government, contrary to church teaching.  If this case stood in court the government would then be able to decide who religious organizations can hire and fire.

State immigration laws. Several states have recently passed laws that forbid what the government deems “harboring” of undocumented immigrants—and what the Church deems Christian charity and pastoral care to those immigrants. Perhaps the most egregious of these is in Alabama, where the Catholic bishops, in cooperation with the Episcopal and Methodist bishops of Alabama, filed suit against the law: It is with sadness that we brought this legal action but with a deep sense that we, as people of faith, have no choice but to defend the right to the free exercise of religion granted to us as citizens of Alabama.

The law makes illegal the exercise of our Christian religion which we, as citizens of Alabama, have a right to follow. This new Alabama law makes it illegal for a Catholic priest to baptize, hear the confession of, celebrate the anointing of the sick with, or preach the word of God to, an undocumented immigrant. Nor can Clergy encourage them to attend Mass or give them a ride to Mass. It is illegal to allow them to attend adult scripture study groups, or attend CCD or Sunday school classes. It is illegal for the clergy to counsel them in times of difficulty or in preparation for marriage. It is illegal for them to come to Alcoholic Anonymous meetings or other recovery groups at our churches.

Altering Church structure and governance. In 2009, the Judiciary Committee of the Connecticut Legislature proposed a bill that would have forced Catholic parishes to be restructured according to a congregational model, recalling the trusteeism controversy of the early nineteenth century, and prefiguring the federal government’s attempts to redefine for the Church “religious minister” and “religious employer” in the years since.

Christian students on campus. In its over-100-year history, the University of California Hastings College of Law has denied student organization status to only one group, the Christian Legal Society, because it required its leaders to be Christian and to abstain from sexual activity outside of marriage.

Christian foster care and adoption services. Boston, San Francisco, the District of Columbia, and the state of Illinois have driven local Catholic Charities out of the business of providing adoption or foster care services—by revoking their licenses, by ending their government contracts, or both—because those Charities refused to place children with couples or unmarried opposite-sex couples who cohabit.

Discrimination against small church congregations. New York City enacted a rule that barred the Bronx Household of Faith and sixty other churches from renting public schools on weekends for worship services even though non-religious groups could rent the same schools for scores of other uses. While this would not frequently affect Catholic parishes, which generally own their own buildings, it would be devastating to many smaller congregations. It is a simple case of discrimination against religious believers.

Discrimination against Christian humanitarian services. Notwithstanding years of excellent performance by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services in administering contract services for victims of human trafficking, the federal government changed its contract specifications to require us to provide or refer for contraceptive and abortion services in violation of Catholic teaching. Religious institutions should not be disqualified from a government contract based on religious belief, and they do not somehow lose their religious identity or liberty upon entering such contracts. And yet a federal court in Massachusetts, turning religious liberty on its head, has since declared that such a disqualification is required by the First Amendment—that the government somehow violates religious liberty by allowing Catholic organizations to participate in contracts in a manner consistent with their beliefs on contraception and abortion.



5 thoughts on “Take A Stand Against Attacks On Religious Freedom

  1. Notwithstanding the bishops’ arm waving about religious liberty, the health care law does not force employers to act contrary to their consciences. Contrary to bishops’ assertions and the widespread belief of those who trustingly accept their claims, the law does no such thing….

    EDITOR’S NOTE: Thank you for your comment. Essentially what you are saying is that you have a group of people who disagree with the bishop’s position regarding the HHS mandate. That is your opinion. You seem to believe your information outweighs that of attorneys from one end of this country to the other, theologians across the nation, prominent judges, and all the Bishops in the US. What Obama has done has launched an unprecedented attack on not only the Catholic Church’s religious freedoms but on all Christian denominations as well. In the history of this country there has never been such a response from the entire Christian community, Catholic and non-Catholic alike. There are numerous lawsuits being brought against the government; some will be heard in the Supreme Court in the near future. If the Supreme Court rules properly this will just be a bad memory. We are praying for a proper Supreme Court decision and will continue to exercise our rights to free speech and assembly all across this country on June 8, at noon to speak out against this attack on our religious freedoms.

    • No. I did not simply “disagree” as a matter of “opinion.” I said (and explained) that the bishops’ complaints are predicated on the claim–which is demonstrably false–that the law “forces” employers to provide health plans that are contrary to their religious beliefs. It does not.

      EDITOR: We know what you said and what you explained; however the facts in favor of our argument are valid, well documented, beyond mere opinion. Our sources are authoritative, not only in the Church but legal and constitutional scholars are backing our position. We will continue to support the people we know and can trust. We will see how this plays out; if there is any truth and justice left in our nation, our constitutional rights will be upheld.

  2. Doug, join the real world, of course the HHS mandate forces Christians to provide death inducing contraceptive drugs – that is the goal of the HHS mandate – to destroy human life in the womb. Wow, it’s time for you to stop drinking the Obama kool-aid and realize he is the most pro-baby-killing president in American history.

    • I think you are right that, for you and the bishops, this is really a policy dispute about making contraception and abortion available. My objection is that the bishops are dressing up their policy disagreement in the guise of protecting their “religious liberty,” when that is not at stake at all. They just don’t like the policy, and they’re not above lying about religious liberty to try to get their way.

      Editor: We admire your tenacity but are appalled at your ignorance. Our time is too valuable to beat a dead horse; the Bishops, the theologians, constitutional scholars, and lawyers are right. This is an attack on our religious freedoms. The kool-aid drinking Obama spinmiesters are making this out to be an issue of contraception. Birth control is readily available now to anyone who wants it-they just have to pay for it themselves. Send your drivel to the local newspaper-they’ll be glad to print your spin.

  3. Artwork adds life to a piece. Whether it is a simple drawing, a complex background, or anything in between, there’s no denying that a website would be boring without a little color and art to it. The problem comes when people get so greedy for images to spruce up their items and sites that they end up stealing others artwork. As an artist myself, I find this very insulting and I’m completely against it.

    EDITOR: We agree that artistic material should be respected. We could not see a copyright or even a name on this image. If you know who the originator of this work was, please have him/her contact us so we can be advised to give proper credit for the work.

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