"Students of Faith" Video
"Conscience is the most sacred of all property." -James Madison, 1792
"It is deeply concerning that the U.S. Senate has voted to proceed toward passage of the "Respect for Marriage Act," said Cardinal Timothy Dolan, USCCB Chairman for Religious Liberty. "The Catholic Church will always uphold the unique meaning of marriage as a lifelong, exclusive union of one man and one woman. ... we are joined by millions of ...reasonable and sincere Americans - both religious and secular - who share this time-honored understanding of the truth and beauty of marriage." ..."but the provisions of the Act that relate to religious liberty are insufficient." (1)
The Respect for Marriage Act is a bill that seeks to reinforce the already legalized same-sex marriage rights. In 2015 the Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell vs Hodges, that the 14th Amendment requires states to recognize and license same-sex marriages. However, after the Dobbs decision which ruled that federal abortion rights are unconstitutional and the issue of abortion must be decided within each state, many supporters of same-sex marriage want to reinforce the 2015 decision in case the court ever overrules the Obergefell decision.
Unfortunately, religious freedom "protections" in this new version of the “Respect for Marriage Act” are entirely inadequate and also threaten the institution of marriage in multiple ways. (2)
· It further embeds a false definition of marriage in the American legal fabric.
· It jeopardizes the tax-exempt status of nonprofits that exercise their belief that marriage is a union of one man and one woman.
· It endangers faith-based social-service organizations by threatening litigation and liability risk if they follow their views on marriage when working with the government.
· It could make religious freedom and free speech cases harder to win.
· It opens the door to federal recognition of polygamous relationships.
"Obergefell created countless religious liberty conflicts, but this Act offers only limited protections. Those protections fail to resolve the main problem with the Act: in any context in which conflicts between religious beliefs and same-sex marriage arise, the Act will be used as evidence that religious believers must surrender to the state's interest in recognizing same-sex civil marriages. Wedding cake bakers, faith-based adoption and foster care providers, religious employers seeking to maintain their faith identity, faith-based housing agencies - are all at greater risk of discrimination under this legislation," said Cardinal Dolan in his statement. (3)
“It is the duty of everyone to defend religious freedom and promote it for all people.” -Pope Francis
(usccb.org, 11/17/22(1)(3); adflegal.org, 11/3/22(2); thewashingtonstand.com, 11/17/22; ncregister.com, 10/7/22; deseret.com, 11/21/22; congress.gov, 7/17/22; the week.com, 11/18/22; law.com, 11/4/22)
Deceptively Named “Respect for Marriage Act” Denies
Religious Freedoms and Causes Deep Concern Among Bishops
December 4, 2022
LEARN & SHARE THIS WEEK'S LESSON
Richard M. Doerflinger January 18, 2013
Mr. Doerflinger, served for 36 years as the Associate Director of the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Regarding politics and election issues affecting conscience rights and the free exercise of religion:
“…The issues of religious freedom and conscience rights present an added dimension. Here we are not talking about the Church injecting itself into the political sphere. Rather, political forces have injected themselves into the lives of Catholics and Church organizations, substituting their own secular ideology for the Church's values. Some will say the Church should leave politics alone and concentrate on teaching the Catechism and serving the needy – but what if a political initiative says the Church may not follow the Catechism, even in its own institutions? What if it says a Church agency may not serve needy people regardless of those people's faith, because then it will not be "religious enough" to be exempt from a mandate to provide morally objectionable drugs and procedures? What if it says your neighbor, a devoted Catholic nurse, has no right to her livelihood because she will not help perform abortions? At that point we must resist, or we will have nowhere to go with our faith except the hidden recesses of our own minds. "Politics" of an especially intolerant kind will take over everything else. Jesus said: "Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." At his October 2011 Mass dedicated to the New Evangelization, Pope Benedict recalled a comment on this text by an anonymous early Christian: "Caesar's coin is gold, God's coin is humanity…. Therefore give your riches to Caesar but keep for God the unique innocence of your conscience, where God is contemplated." Every once in a while, we may have to remind Caesar that we don't owe him our souls.”
Life Issues Forum:
Keeping Politics Out of Church?
STUDENTS MAY PRAY IN SCHOOL
ARE NOT “GOD-FREE ZONES”
America’s children need not leave their faith outside the school house door.
For students to be silenced or disciplined by a school authority for appropriate religious expression should never happen. Sadly, young students may well conclude…
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AT WORLD MEETING OF FAMILIES: DEFENDING FREEDOM OF RELIGION
Barbara 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.
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM RALLY 2018
IN SERVICE TO THE CHURCH
Click here to watch Barbara on TeleCare TV.
Pope 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
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