26 Jun

The True Meaning of July 4th – Independence Day

For 240 years, Independence Day has been celebrated as the most significant of all American holidays –  as the day we declared our independence from the tyranny of King George III and Great Britain.  This Declaration proclaimed to the world our emergence as a new sovereign nation to be based on the principles  stated in the pledge to our flag, “under God, with liberty and justice for all.”

“We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness – That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed,…”

We humbly thank our Founders who gave us this Declaration of Independence  which  will remain for future generations of Americans the beacon of liberty, the upholder of our divine unalienable rights and the guardian of our independence.  We must never forget the price paid for our freedom and the reasons why freedom is worth paying the price.

(thenewamerican.com, 7/4/11, 7/4/16; dailysignal.com, 6/10/10; reference.com)

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.  Galatians 5:1
19 Jun

Fortnight For Freedom: Freedom for Mission
June 25 and June 28

“Challenges against fundamental 1st Amendment religious liberty rights, recent Supreme Court decisions on marriage, aggressive attempts to make euthanasia legal – we realize that we are definitely at a crisis point, a moral and ethical tipping point.”        Bishop John O. Barres

“Mass Celebrating the 2017 Fortnight For Freedom” 

Sunday,  June 25

12:30pm – Bishop Robert J. Brennan – Celebrant

St. Agnes Cathedral, 29 Quealy Place, Rockville Centre, 11570

“Rosary & Rally For Religious Freedom”

 Wednesday, June 28,

6:00pm – Public Witness Rosary in front of auditorium facing Newbridge Road

7:00pm – Fortnight Rally for Religious Freedom – in auditorium

  Bishop John O. Barres – keynote speaker

Holy Trinity High School, 98 Cherry Lane, Hicksville, 11801

Light refreshments served following program
Co-sponsored by the Diocese of Rockville Centre and CFFR
 
11 Jun

Fortnight For Freedom: Freedom for Mission

Fortnight For Freedom: Freedom for Mission

June 21, June 25, June 28

 “The Joy of The Gospel”

Bible illuminations, scripture, hymns and meditation. Concluding with Benediction

Wednesday, June 21

6:00pm – Preview of St. John’s Bible

7:00pm – Visio Divina – Seeing the Word

Benediction

St. Bernard’s Church, 3100 Hempstead Tpk, Levittown, 11756

“Mass Celebrating the 2017 Fortnight For Freedom” 

Sunday,  June 25

12:30pm – Bishop Robert J. Brennan – Celebrant

St. Agnes Cathedral, 29 Quealy Place, Rockville Centre, 11570

“Rosary & Rally For Religious Freedom”

 Wednesday, June 28,

6:00pm – Public Witness Rosary in front of auditorium facing Newbridge Road

7:00pm – Fortnight Rally for Religious Freedom – in auditorium

  Bishop John O. Barres – keynote speaker

Holy Trinity High School, 98 Cherry Lane, Hicksville, 11801

Light refreshments served following program
29 May

School to Teacher: Don’t Pray for your Colleagues

“Teachers may meet with other teachers for prayer or Bible study to the same extent that they may engage in other conversation or nonreligious activities.” from Free To Speak, Guidelines from U.S. Department of Education

School to Teacher: Don’t Pray for your Colleagues

Maine: H.S. educational technician, Toni Richardson, filed charges of religious discrimination and retaliation with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in May, after being instructed to never use phrases like, “I will pray for you” and “You are in my prayers” in private conversations with coworkers.

Toni had tried to privately encourage a coworker with whom she attends church, by saying, “I will pray for you.” Yet months later, after a falling out, this coworker lodged a complaint against her and the school gave Toni an official “coaching memorandum” which told her that stating, ‘you were in my prayers’, is not acceptable. The memorandum said that she could not use “phrases that integrate public and private belief systems” while at school. The memo specifically explains she will face discipline or dismissal in the future for using these phrases.

“What Augusta Public Schools did by punishing Toni for discussing her faith in a private conversation with a coworker is unconscionable,” said a Maine law firm. “The law is clear: employers cannot discriminate against employees who privately discuss their faith while at work.”

“School employees are not required to hide their faith from each other while on campus,” said First Liberty Senior Counsel. (apnews.com, 5/16/17; mainepublic.org, 5/17/17; frc.org, 5/19/17)

“Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.” Philippians 4:6

Save the Date:

  • June 21
    Opening of 2017 Fortnight For Freedom, “Joy of the Gospel”
    St. Bernard’s Church, Levittown
    Meditating on illuminations of Sacred Scriptures
    Preview of St. John’s Bible at 6:00pm in Parish Center
    “Visio Dining – Seeing the Word” and Benediction at 7:00pm in the church.
  • June 28
    Fortnight Religious Freedom Rally, keynote speaker, Bishop John O. Barres
    Holy Trinity H.S., Hicksville
    6:00pm Rosary, 7:00pm Program
22 May

Court Upholds Conscience Rights of Business Owner

Five years after Hands On Originals t-shirt company was sued for declining to print t-shirts for the Lexington homosexual “Pride Festival,” the Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled that no one should be forced to engage in speech they disagree with – including small business owners.  “Christians should not be forced to violate their consciences in order to make a living,” said Concerned Women for America legal counsel.

Initially, the city’s Human Rights Commission found Blaine “guilty” of breaking the town’s “fairness” ordinance and sentenced him to “diversity training.”  At the time, the Commission’s Executive Director said it’s time for Christians in the marketplace “to leave their religion at home.”  However, Blaine believed, “I don’t leave my faith at the door when I walk into my business.”

“Americans should always have the freedom to believe, the freedom to express those beliefs, and the freedom not to express ideas that would violate their conscience,” said Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Senior Counsel.  “Protecting Blaine’s freedom affirms everyone’s freedom, no matter the nature of their beliefs or convictions.  The government shouldn’t be able to force citizens to create speech that conflicts with their deepest convictions, and the court’s decision rightly affirms that.”
(lifesitenews.com, 5/16/17; frc.org, 5/16/17)

“Christians should not be forced to violate their consciences in order to make a living.”  Mario Diaz, legal counsel for Concerned Women for America

Save the Date:

  • June 21
    Opening of 2017 Fortnight for Freedom.
    Joy of the Gospel” at St. Bernard’s Church, Levittown
    Meditating on illuminations of sacred scriptures.
    Preview of St. John’s Bible at 6:00pm in Peach Room.
    “Visio Divina-Seeing the Word” and Benediction 
    at 7:00pm in the church.
  • June 28
    Fortnight  Religious Freedom Rally
    keynote speaker, Bishop John O. Barres
    Holy Trinity HS, Hicksville
    6:00pm Rosary
    7:00pm Program
15 May

Religious Discrimination by Grand Canyon Officials

On May 4, 2017, National Day of Prayer, President Trump issued
“Executive Order Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty”

Religious Discrimination by Grand Canyon Officials:

A highly respected geologist has filed a complaint against the Grand Canyon National Park, accusing officials of denying him a research permit due to his “Christian faith and scientific viewpoints informed by his Christian faith,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel. Dr. Andrew Snelling had previously been allowed to conduct research in the Grand Canyon but his recent “request to obtain a few fist-sized rock samples was denied after Park officials learned of his Christian views about the Earth’s beginnings.”

“The case is about good science being practiced by a good scientist who is being blocked by intolerant government bureaucrats. They have shown a clear animosity toward a researcher’s faith and want to trample on his civil rights,” said the president of Answers in Genesis.

Scientists will always look at data and challenge one another’s interpretation. “Such disagreement is how science works. But when the government starts refusing access to even collect the information because it dislikes one scientist’s views, it undercuts science and violates the law,” said ADF.

The case “perfectly illustrates why President Trump had to order executive agencies to affirm religious freedom, because park officials specifically targeted Dr. Snelling’s religious faith as the reason to stop his research,” said an ADF attorney.
(12news.com, 5/9/17; wnd.com, 5/9/17; answersingenesis.org, 5/9/17)

Save the Date:

June 28, 2017
Religious Freedom Rally
keynote speaker, Bishop John Barres
Holy Trinity HS, Hicksville
6:00pm Rosary, 7:00pm Program

08 May

Free Speech Fairness Act of 2017

“a wind is picking up that is hostile to those with traditional moral beliefs.”
Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito March 16, 2017

Free Speech Fairness Act of 2017:

The Free Speech Fairness Act was introduced to allow churches and nonprofits to participate in political speech. It would roll back the Johnson Amendment of 1954, named after Sen. Lyndon Johnson, that prevents any church or other nonprofit organization from endorsing or opposing political candidates – even for biblical reasons – and allowed the IRS to punish pastors, churches and nonprofit ministries with crippling audits and threats to take away tax exemptions. The Johnson Amendment has caused great confusion and concern about what tax exempt organizations can say about moral issues and political candidates.

The Fairness Act would restore free speech to churches, charities and their leaders who have effectively been silenced. The act proposes to “allow charitable organizations to make statements relating to political campaigns if such statements are made in the ordinary course of carrying out its tax exempt purpose.”

“Thomas Jefferson’s ‘separation’ coinage doesn’t mean that there is a complete wall of separation between the two (church and state); it just means that the state should not have control over the church, nor shall the church maintain control over the state,” wrote the Fairness Act’s sponsors.
(dailysignal.com, 4/28/17; congress.gov/bill; desertnews.com, 2/7/17)

“The First Amendment is, and freedom of speech is, the cornerstone of our democracy … we cannot toy around with the First Amendment. It is absolutely critical.”
Robert Reich, Berkeley Professor, former Secretary of Labor in 1990’s
01 May

Asking for Bibles After Losing Everything

“I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given to man.” Abraham Lincoln

Asking for Bibles After Losing Everything: Peru – Inhabitants of a village devastated by recent floods asked Archbishop Eguren to help them get some Bibles. “They said the Word of God is essential for them and the continuity of the family catechetical programs … they have implemented in their village,” said an archdiocese spokesperson. “They are people of deep faith and despite everything they have suffered they have not lost hope…” (catholicnewsagency.com, 4/25/17; patheos.com, 4/25/17)

Year of the Bible 2017: For the second year in a row, Kentucky Governor Bevin declared the new year the “Year of the Bible 2017″ after the proposal was brought forth by Democrat state Representative Tom Riner. Leaders in each county took 15 minute shifts with the goal of reading the entire Bible in Kentucky’s Bible Reading Marathon.

President Harry S. Truman said, ‘The fundamental basis of our nation’s law was given to Moses on the Mount. The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teaching we get from Exodus and St. Matthew, from Isaiah and St. Paul,'” said Gov. Bevin. (christianpost.com, 12/23/16; governing.com, 12/23/16)

“So great is my veneration for the Bible that the earlier my children begin to read it, the more confident will be my hope that they will prove useful citizens to their country and respectable members of society.” John Quincy Adams
25 Apr

U.S. Supreme Court’s Most Important Religious Freedom Case This Term

“The concept of (First Amendment) neutrality can lead to … hostility to the religious.
Such results are not only not compelled by the Constitution, but, it seems to me, are prohibited by it.” 
        U.S. Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg  (1962-1965)

 U.S. Supreme Court’s Most Important Religious Freedom Case This Term:

Question:  Can states exhibit hostility to religion by prohibiting religiously affiliated schools  from participating in otherwise neutral government programs solely because the groups have a religious identity?

Trinity Lutheran Church Learning Center in Missouri sought to participate in a Grant Program that provided rubberized material for school playgrounds made out of old tires in order to resurface their preschool playground with this safer, recycled material.  Trinity was disqualified from the program based on an 1875 Missouri constitution amendment that prohibits public money being used to aid “any church, sect, or denomination or religion.”

“The state admits that it blatantly excludes religious organizations from a safety program that has nothing to do with religion.  That’s precisely the kind of hostility to religion that the U.S. Constitution prohibits,” said Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Senior Counsel.

Being neutral “doesn’t mean treating religious organizations worse than anyone else,” ADF continued.  If the government can block this benefit, what’s next?  “If a child is hurt on Trinity’s playground, can the county hospital send an ambulance?  Or, if the city provides fire extinguishers to all preschools, can it give some to Trinity?”

(frc.org,4/19/17; dailysignal.com,4/18/17; constitutioncenter.org, 1/3/17)

 

“When our Founding Fathers passed the First Amendment … they never intended to construct a wall of hostility between government and the concept of religious belief itself.”               President Ronald Reagan

Events:

Sunday, May 7
Catholic Teachers in Public Schools – Communion Breakfast
11:00 Mass, 12:00 Brunch & Presentation
Seminary of the Immaculate Conception
440 West Neck Road
Huntington, NY 11743
To register call 516-678-5800

 

17 Apr

Palm Sunday Attacks on Coptic Christians

“convert the hearts of the people who are sowing terror, violence and death …”    Pope Francis

Palm Sunday Attacks on Coptic Christians:

Pope Francis condemned Islamic State terror attacks on Coptic churches during Palm Sunday services.  These bombings in Cairo, Egypt, are the latest escalation by ISIS to step up its attacks against Egypt’s Christian minority which makes up 10% of the population.   (americamagazine.org, 4/9/17; catholicnewsagency.com, 4/9/17)

Are Christians in America Under Attack?

Compared to the rest of the world, the answer is “No.”  Americans don’t experience the same kind of persecution as Christians in Nigeria, Iran, Pakistan, Egypt and Syria.

What is happening in America is an increasing hostility and intolerance toward Christian beliefs and values.  Hostility toward religion in America has expanded dramatically in recent years, with florists targeted, bakers punished, nuns coerced and retail companies facing discrimination for their faith.

“This flood is engulfing ordinary citizens who simply try to live normal lives according to their faith and conscience…It has the potential to wash away the ground that supports our other rights, including freedom of speech…,” said Kelly Shackelford, chief counsel for First Liberty.   (time.com,6/29/16; christianity.com)

“God made us free, but this kind of (polite) persecution takes away freedom.”  Pope Francis

Events:

  • Sunday, April 23, 2017, 7-9PM
    Congressman Lee Zeldin
    St. Patrick’s R.C.Church
    280 E Main St., Smithtown,
    Topic: conscience rights & religious liberty and our Congress
  • Sunday, May 7, 2017
    11:00 mass, 12:00 Brunch & Presentation
    Catholic Teachers in Public Schools Communion Breakfast
    Seminary of the Immaculate Conception
    440 West Neck Road, Huntington, 11743
    For a reservation, call DRVC, Office of Faith Formation at 516-678-5800