Blog

20 Nov

Conscience Rights One Step Closer

ALERT!   Watch EWTN’s “Pro-Life Weekly”  coverage of Catholics for Freedom of Religion

http://bit.ly/2jsvyCe  the final 4 minutes of the show

 
The Departments of HHS, Treasury, and Labor, on Oct. 6, announced a Rule Protecting the Conscience Rights of All Americans that provides conscience protections to Americans who have a religious or moral objection to paying for health insurance that covers contraception/abortion services.   The government appears to admit that it violated the law when it tried to force religious ministries, like the Little Sisters of the Poor, to violate their faith.  Under the new rule, the objectionable Health & Human Services (HHS) mandate will remain in place for most employers and will now include an exemption for religious ministries.
 
However, the Little Sisters still need permanent court protection to finally end their years-long lawsuit and go back to serving the elderly poor.  Their case has been on hold ever since May, 2016, when the Supreme Court unanimously overturned the lower courts ruling against the Little Sisters, said the Little Sisters couldn’t be fined ($100/day per employee) and ordered the lower courts to find an accommodation acceptable to both parties. “Clearly, the Supreme Court understood the Sisters’ concern that the governments current scheme forces them to violate their religion,” said the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.
 

In a related case, after years of litigation, on Oct. 11, the Department of Justice reached a settlement that marks relief for two similar ministries in relation to the HHS mandate.

“The last 3 years of litigation could have been avoided entirely if … administration had simply recognized that the First Amendment protects the rights of conscience of these religious ministries against an administration intent on coercing their obedience,” said First Liberty Institute.
 
 
13 Nov

Thanksgiving: The Religious Freedom Holiday

The Pilgrims who established the first Thanksgiving Day were in search of the freedom to practice their faith after being persecuted, arrested and fined for their form of Christianity.  After fleeing England, their beloved mother country, and a ten-year sojourn in Holland, these so-called “separatists” prayerfully decided to depart for America to find what the governor of Plymouth, William Bradford, called “freedom of religion for all men.”
 
There were 102 Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower who suffered the 67 days of rough sailing before they finally landed at Plymouth Bay in November, 1620.
 
After indescribable hardships, by March, 1621, less than a year after arriving, only 51 of the original 102 remained alive.  Fortunately, some Native Americans taught the Pilgrims  survival skills in this new land, and at the end of their first harvest, they decided to hold a feast of celebration and thanksgiving to God for their harvest, newfound friends, and freedom to worship as their hearts desired.
 
Now, almost 400 years later, let us reflect on the sacrifice of these brave souls who valued their freedom of religion above all security and comfort and have bequeathed to us this gift.  
 
Proclamation:  Thanksgiving Day 1789
“I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be … our sincere and humble thanks.”  President George Washington
 
 
06 Nov

Student Group Facing “Hate” Charges at Georgetown

Georgetown University student group, Love Saxa, is in danger of being defunded and barred from campus facilities after some students petitioned that it be recognized as a “hate group” – charges levied against it for its fidelity to Catholic doctrine on sexuality.
 
The Hoya, Georgetown’s student newspaper, argues that Love Saxa’s definition of marriage fosters hatred or intolerance since it “actively advocates a limited definition of marriage…”
 
 “Love Saxa believes that marriage is a conjugal union on every level – emotional, spiritual, physical and mental – directed toward the caring for biological children.  To us, marriage is much more than commitment of love between two consenting adults,” said student-president, Amelia Levine.  “I believe Love Saxa has the right to exist, especially at a Catholic school.  We exist to promote healthy, loving relationships at Georgetown.”
 
“Our definition of ‘healthy relationships’ and ‘sexual integrity’ is synonymous with those of the Catholic Church, and therefore those of Georgetown University.  If The Hoya wishes to call Love Saxa a hate group, we anticipate that it will not be long until other traditional religious groups are labeled ‘hate groups’ as well.”
 
Georgetown is a Catholic University in Washington, D.C., founded by the Society of Jesus in 1789.  “If we cannot safely advocate for beliefs synonymous with Catholic social teaching,” said Levine, “then no group at Georgetown can be certain of its security.”

(ncr.org, 10/20/17; catholicnewsagency.com, 10/20/17; foxnews.com, 10/23/17) 
“We have become certain of two things: religious freedom is under attack, and we will not cease our struggle to protect it.”  
-Cardinal Timothy Dolan
30 Oct

Widespread Ignorance of Religious Rights

A new survey from the University of Pennsylvania Annenberg Public Policy Center reveals that few Americans know even the most basic elements of our government and the Constitution that formed it.  
  *  More than 1/3 (37%) could not name a single right protected by the First Amendment.
  *  Only 15% could name Freedom of Religion as a right.
  *  Only 26% can name the 3 branches of government.
 
“Protecting the rights guaranteed by the Constitution presupposes that we know what they are.  The fact that many don’t is worrisome,” said the Director of the Annenberg Center.
 
“As a nation, it’s clear once again, we still do not provide enough basic education about our core freedoms – even enough to simply name the 5 freedoms of the First Amendment,” said the senior VP of First Amendment Center.
 
“Every totalitarian movement in history has sought to crush conscience rights.  That is because conscience rights are linked to religious rights, making freedom of religion the one right that totalitarian rulers fear most,” said Bill Donohue, Catholic League president.
 
“Freedom depends, in part, on our vigilance in protecting fundamental human rights.  If the first freedom to go is freedom of religion … then these survey findings are not encouraging.  We are not likely to defend rights we barely know exists.”
 
 
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech , or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for redress of grievances.   
~First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States