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15 Jan

Why Religious Freedom Matters

As a New Year begins, America finds itself at a tipping point, with the stakes for religious freedom at an all-time high.  Many cases are working their way through the courts while some will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.  These cases involve prayer, military religious rights, faith-based business owners, and houses of worship.  Unfortunately, many cases don’t even make it to the court system since citizens will often capitulate to intimidation out of ignorance of their First Amendment protections, fear of job or societal repercussions, or legal costs  (though many law firms defend religious freedom pro-bono.)
 
       Examples of Student Religious Expression on trial:  
  At two different Long Island, NY, public schools students were made to turn their t-shirts inside out to hide the Bible verses on the shirts.
  A Florida agency banned two Christian schools from using a stadium speaker system to pray before a championship game, even though this was common practice. 
These 2 cases are each one step below the Supreme Court.
 
       Examples of Military Religious Rights on trial:
  A 33-year Air Force veteran, Oscar Rodriquez, was forcibly removed from a private retirement ceremony at a CA airbase because he planned to say the word “God” in his speech.
  Two high-ranking military officers, Col. Bohannon and Col. Madrid, are being punished for their religious views on marriage.
 
       Examples of Business Owners on trial:
  An OR family-owned bakery is being fined $135,000 for declining – on religious grounds – to create a custom cake for a same-sex wedding. The government says it also wants to “rehabilitate” their religious views.
  MN film makers, Angel & Carl Larsen, are facing large fines or 90 days in jail for declining to video a same-sex wedding.
 
       Examples of Houses of Worship on trial:
  A synagogue in Dallas, TX, is fighting for its existence against zoning regulations.
  An Orthodox Jewish community in Los Angeles, CA, was sued by animal rights activists trying to prevent a millennium-old religious ceremony (kosher chicken) from taking place in various synagogues.    
 
(CFFR, Students of Faith lessons, 2017; firstliberty.org, 12/28/17; ncregister.com, 6/22/12; thf_media, s3,amazonnews)
 
 “The liberty enjoyed by the People of these States, of worshiping Almighty God agreeable to their Consciences, is not only among the choicest of their Blessings, but also of their Rights.”  George Washington

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12 Rules for Christmas

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Free to Speak:
Our public schools are not “God-Free Zones”

America’s children need not leave their faith at the school house door.

For students to be silenced or disciplined by an authority figure, for appropriate religious expression should never happen. Sadly, young students may well conclude…

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Religious Freedom Resources

Educational resources for parish members who work to support Religious Freedoms.

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At World Meeting of Families: Defending Freedom of Religion

WorldMeetingofFamiliesBarbara Samuells, president of Catholics for Freedom of Religion and a parishioner at St. Matthew’s, Dix Hills, shares her experience at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.

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Religious Freedom: Our First Amendment Right

In Service to the Church


Click here to watch Barbara on TeleCare TV.

Pope blesses boy as he leaves audience in St. Peter's Square at VaticanPope Francis has observed that “religion [cannot] be relegated to the inner sanctum of personal life, without influence on societal and national life.” Evangelii Gaudium. . . , no. 183. In insisting that our liberties as Americans be respected, Pope Benedict XVI said that this work belongs to “an engaged, articulate and well-formed Catholic laity endowed with a strong critical sense vis-à-vis the dominant culture.” Therefore, catechesis on religious liberty is not the work of priests alone. If religious liberty is not properly understood, all people suffer and are deprived of the essential contribution to the common good, be it in education, health care, feeding the hungry, civil rights, and social services that individuals make every day, both here at home and overseas.




Catholics for Freedom of Religion
Mission Statement

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America’s First Amendment guarantees its citizens five freedoms, the first of which is Freedom of Religion. Freedom of Religion includes the freedom to worship according to one’s beliefs as well as the freedom to practice that faith in everyday life according to one’s conscience.

So that this First Amendment freedom may be practiced and preserved for generations yet unborn it is essential that Americans understand this freedom and the circumstances from which it came. A fitting place for the development of this understanding and protection of Religious Freedom is inside all faith communities.

Catholics for Freedom of Religion offers resources to parish members who work to support Religious Freedom by initiating parish laity groups with these suggested goals:

  • To educate and inspire for Freedom of Religion
  • To remain non-partisan, advocating for no candidate or party
  • To invite and include other faith communities
  • To become a permanent group within each parish to educate every generation of Catholics about our Freedom of Religion…how rare it is, how dearly it was purchased for us and how certainly it is being lost.
  • To recognize and oppose attacks on Freedom of Religion from any source

“We hold it for a fundamental and undeniable truth, that religion, or the duty we owe our Creator and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence. The religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate. This right is in its nature an unalienable right.” James Madison

“While Americans presume that the Constitution guarantees their rights, in practice our rights survive or disappear based on how firmly we defend them.” Archbishop Charles J. Chaput

www.CatholicsforFreedomofReligion.org Phone 631-896-8331


National Religious Freedom Day


Click here to view a video about National Religious Freedom Day 2014.