"Students of Faith" Video
"A nation that turns away from prayer will ultimately find itself in desperate need of it."
- Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, author of The Harbinger
As the world continues to confront coronavirus, many leaders have paused the reopening of their countries, announcing new constraints on travel, gatherings, churches, synagogues, and mosques.
Ireland: "This Cabinet will go down in history as the most anti-Christian Government of all time ... to think people will be persecuted for going to Mass or having public worship," said a minister of the Irish Parliament. "140 people or more were in this room today voting on legislation. There's churches in this country bigger than this and yet you allow only 10 people in!," said another minister.(1)
Scotland: A group of 27 church leaders argued the Scottish government acted beyond their emergency powers. Judge Lord Braid said the Scottish regulations disproportionately interfered with the freedom of religion. "I have not decided that all churches must immediately open... All I have decided is that the regulations ... went further than they were lawfully able to do." (2) Rev. Dr. William Philip said that the Scottish Ministers, "approach to banning and criminalizing gathered church worship was clearly an over-reach..." (3)
France was still under curfew in March and entered its third national lockdown on April 3, the day before Easter.
Germany is also still on lockdown with some relaxation promised at 7-day intervals for shops and service providers but no word yet of relaxation for churches.
Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship issued guidelines for Holy Week , calling for return to "normal experience of Christian life through the physical presence of the faithful at Mass." (4)
Canada: GraceLife Church was "physically closed" by Alberta Health Services when authorities surrounded it with a chain link fence and blocked the entrance to the parking lot with police vehicles. The pastor, James Coates, resumed preaching on March 28, after being jailed for 35 days in February and fined $1500, charged with violating health orders when he exercised his civil liberties by holding in-person services with the appropriate caution. "Now they've chained the doors of the church, enclosing it in chain link fence," said the pastors wife. "This is all under the guise of a health order ... I pray for all the pastors and Christians that still think this is about a virus and health order. Clearly our Charter and criminal code mean nothing as long as the government can come up with a good enough story to disregard it. God have mercy on our nation." (5)
(irishtimes.com, 3/25/21(1), 3/31/21 cruxnow.com, 3/10/21; bbcnews.com, 3/24/21(2)(3); churchtimes.co.uk, 3/12/21(4); northstarmeetingsgroup.com, 4/2/21; toddstarnes.com,4/7/21(5)
"When we worship together as a community of living Christians, we do not worship alone; we worship with all the company of heaven." - Marianne H. Micks, Professor of Historical Theology
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN A MINUTE
Canceling Worship Persists in Europe & Canada
(A Harbinger for Further Restrictions in America?)
The Bishops of the United States wrote to members of the U.S. Congress warning the Equality Act would “discriminate against people of faith” and “inflict numerous legal and social harms on Americans.”
“Rather than affirm human dignity in ways that meaningfully exceed existing practical protections, the Equality Act would discriminate against people of faith,” they declared.
Similarly, the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights stated that the Equality Act is fundamentally “anti-Christian” because of its rejection of biological sexual differences in favor of an ideological agenda.
The Act would “promote the most comprehensive assault on Christianity ever written into law,” wrote Catholic League president Bill Donohue this week.
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