"Students of Faith" Video
"Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid."
Almost 400 years ago, in 1630 aboard the Arbella, Gov. John Winthrop wrote a now famous sermon titled, "A Model of Christian Charity” to his fellow Puritans to prepare them for planting a new society in a perilous environment. These brave people, fleeing from religious persecution in Britain, would understand from the very beginning the standards and principles that they would live by to ensure the success of the colony. Winthrop preached the importance of Christian virtues of faith, charity and love as a foundation bedrock upon which to build their new society. "When God gives a special commission, He looks to have it strictly observed in every article.... We are entered into covenant with Him for this work. We have hereupon besought Him of favor and blessing.” (1)
The Puritan settlement was an experiment. If the colony failed, not only functionally but especially morally, Winthrop feared they would lose the grace of God. But, should they succeed, they would become a beautiful beacon of religious piety and freedom. He wrote:
"For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world."(2)
Does Freedom Matter?
Too often Americans take freedom for granted but it is never guaranteed. The restrictions upon freedoms of individuals, groups, schools, businesses, and houses of worship during the current pandemic have highlighted how fragile freedom really is. Today, some retain their freedoms and others are denied. "While the pandemic poses many grave challenges, there is no world in which the Constitution tolerates color-coded executive edicts that reopen liquor stores and bike shops but shutter churches, synagogues and mosques," wrote Justice Neil Gorsuch. (3) Yet, ignoring the Constitution and restricting freedom, especially religious freedom, has become commonplace in America.
landmarkevents.org (1)(2); thefederalist.com/ john winthrop; medium.com, 3/15/15(2); arcofhistory.org; thefederalist.com, 12/1/20(3)
Happening Now: Honoring Religious Liberty Martyr, St. Thomas Becket
"Thomas Becket's death serves as a powerful and timeless reminder to every American that our freedom from religious persecution is not a mere luxury or accident of history, but rather an essential element of our liberty.” "It is our priceless treasure and inheritance. And it is bought with the blood of martyrs.
President Trump’s “Proclamation on 850th Anniversary of the Martyrdom of St. Thomas Becket.”
Issued Dec. 29, 2020
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN A MINUTE
What Are the Origins of America's Unique Freedom & Judeo-Christian Principles?
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