"Students of Faith" Video
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN A MINUTE
5-20-2020: The bishops of Minnesota have permitted parishes to resume public Masses, and to defy a statewide order prohibiting religious gatherings exceeding 10 people. “An order that sweeps so broadly that it prohibits, for example, a gathering of 11 people in a Cathedral with a seating capacity of several thousand defies reason, “the bishops of Minnesota’s six dioceses said in a May 20 statement. “Therefore, we have chosen to move forward in the absence of any specific timeline laid out by Governor Walz and his Administration. We cannot allow an indefinite suspension of the public celebration of the Mass,” the bishops added. “We can safely resume public Masses in accordance with both our religious duties and with accepted public health and safety standards.” The bishops’ letter permits parishes to resume public Masses May 26. (1)
"The Constitution and the rights enshrined therein are not suspended during a pandemic, and neither is our religion," said Pastor Ionescu, Romanian Pentecostal Church in Chicago.(2) A group of Romanian pastors joined a growing number of churches in Illinois and across the country by opening their churches, following guidelines, and defying stay-at-home orders, which they consider unconstitutional. The Chicago mayor had threatened, "we will take you to jail," if churches opened, reminding Ionescu of communist Romania where he saw pastors thrown into jail as criminals for preaching and gathering in ways forbidden by the government.
Liberty Counsel, representing the Chicago pastors said, "The virus doesn't prefer churches over liquor stores, or shopping malls, or big box centers, or abortion clinics." (3)
In California, 3,000 churches plan to defy shutdown orders and open on May 31 because it marks Pentecost, the birth of the Christian church, making it fitting for a "rebirth" of services. "Our churches are part of the answer, not part of the problem," said Pastor Danny Carroll. "We're an essential part of this whole journey and we've been bypassed - kicked to the curb and deemed nonessential. (4)
The shutdown of houses of worship across the country has raised questions about the constitutionality of the orders and whether they infringe upon civil liberties. Attorney General Barr has said he will crack down on possible religious freedom violations.
(CatholicNewsAgency.com, 5/20/20 (1); theepochtimes.com, 5/12/20(2)(3); vvdaily.press.com,5/17/20; CNBC.com,4/2/20; dailycaller.com, 5/8/20(4)
“In practice, no law and no constitution can protect religious freedom unless people actually believe and live their faith… But it’s also true that no one can finally take our freedom unless we give it away.” - Archbishop Charles Chaput
On April 25, at 3pm, President Trump hosted a conference call with over 700 Catholic clergy, Catholic educators and Catholic lay representatives.
Catholics for Freedom of Religion's Board of Directors was privileged to be invited onto the call where the main concern was the damage being done by the shutdown of the economy to the financial viability of many Catholic schools.
The President, in his opening comments, acknowledged that in our country 1.7 million students are educated in 6000 Catholic schools. He believes the quality of the Catholic education is very high and benefits all students as well as many in minority and low income neighborhoods.
On a personal note, President Trump said that he had great respect all his life for Catholic schools and remembers well that a Catholic School was one of his neighbors when he was growing up in Queens, NY.
The President also emphasized his support for many issues of critical importance to Catholics. He gave examples of his actions to protect life such as the expansion of the Mexico Policy which blocks foreign aid and federal funding from promoting abortion and speaking out for Life in person at the 2020 March for Life.
With so many Catholic leaders on the call, it was appropriate also for the President to reiterate that he has restored the voice of the pulpit regarding the morals of political issues and proposals. Under this administration clergy will not be audited or harassed because they speak Biblical and moral truths that impact politicized issues.
With Catholic education as the main focus of the call, President Trump detailed damage being done by the shutdown of the economy and emphasized that Catholic schools and parishes were very carefully included in eligibility for the CARES ACT Paycheck Protections Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (PPP) through the Small Business Administration (SBA).
President Trump Hears Catholics
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
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM RALLY 2018
IN SERVICE TO THE CHURCH
Click here to watch Barbara on TeleCare TV.
NATIONAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM DAY
Click here to view a video about National Religious Freedom Day 2014.
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.
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