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.


(, 5/20/20 (1);, 5/12/20(2)(3);,5/17/20;,4/2/20;, 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

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), along with the leaders of many healthcare, bioethics, and pro-life organizations, is urging the Administration to make sure that vaccines for coronavirus are developed ethically and are free from any connection to the exploitation of abortion.  The coalition letter to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration strongly urges the federal government to "ensure that fundamental moral principles are followed in the development of vaccines, most importantly, the principle that human life is sacred and should never be exploited."  (1)


"It is critically important that Americans have access to a vaccine that is produced ethically.  No American should be forced to choose between being vaccinated against this potentially deadly virus and violating his or her conscience." (2)


This issue emerged because some politicians are urging the Administration to lift its restrictions on National Institutes of Health (NIH) research.  These restrictions prevent the use of any bodies of aborted children, often referred to as "fetal tissue."  Some media articles are claiming that the restrictions are preventing scientists from finding a vaccine for COVID-19 even though the restrictions against using aborted fetal tissue are not hindering research.


Pharmaceutical companies around the world are also working to make a vaccine against COVID-19.  Explaining current vaccine research, Dr. David Prentice, VP and Research Director for one company said, "... there are a lot (over 40) proposed or under development; ... a few raise concern because they use an abortion-derived cell line as part of the process." ... "their origin makes them ethically tainted."  (3)


However, there are possible alternatives.  "There are actually many licitly (permitted by law) produced vaccines under consideration, including vaccines using insect cells, ethically-derived human cells, and some that use no cells at all," Dr. Prentice explained.  "It's important that we advocate for such vaccines and treatments so that all people can access new vaccines in good conscience."  (4)


Many are not aware that common vaccines that grow in aborted fetal cells include: chickenpox, shingles, hepatitis A, rabies, MMR (measles, mumps, rubella).  These aborted fetal cells were originally used in the 1960s and 1970s.  These same lines are still used today.

While it's still too early to know what vaccine for COVID-19 will prove effective, scientists are certain that vaccines can be created without using fetal cell lines, and the bodies of aborted children are not necessary for medical research and advancements. 


(, 4/21/20(1);, 4/17/20(2)(3)(4);, 4/2/20;, 3/14/19)


"Ethics is nothing else than reverence for life.”  -  Albert Schweitzer, physician and humanitarian


Catholic Bishops Urge that COVID-19 Vaccine Be Free from Aborted Baby Cells

May 24, 2020

"Standing up for liberty is one of our highest priorities, my highest priorities," said AG Barr

during a White House conference call with more than 500 faith leaders, including CFFR, in April.  He assured priests, rabbis, and ministers that the administration is on guard against overzealous state governments intent on "singling out" religious groups with punitive lockdown measures.  He explained that while "Draconian measures" were initially necessary to stop the spread of the coronavirus, they will combat efforts that apply these disproportionately to religious organizations. (1)


"Many policies that would be unthinkable in regular times have become commonplace in recent weeks, and we do not want to unduly interfere with the important efforts of state and local officials to protect the public," said AG Barr in a memo.  "But the Constitution is not suspended in times of crisis." (2)


The Supreme Court has long held that Constitutional rights can be lawfully restricted, to some degree, when emergency health orders are in place.  But the line demarcating where one begins and the other ends is a legal gray area.


In a memo to the nation's 93 U.S. attorneys, AG Barr said, "We must be vigilant to ensure its (the Constitution) protections are preserved, at the same time that the public is protected." (3)

"If a state or local ordinance crosses the line from an appropriate exercise of authority to stop the spread of COVID-19 into an overbearing infringement of constitutional and statutory protections, the Department of Justice may have an obligation to address that overreach in federal court." (4)


"One example of what Barr is concerned about is how churches have been singled out for different treatment," said Commissioner Gary Bauer, of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.  "Why is it okay for people to gather at Walmart but not at church?"   (5)


(, 4/24/20(1);, 4/27/20(2)(4);, 4/24/20(3);, 5/2/20(5);, 4/27/20)


"America will never be destroyed from the outside.  If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."  - Abraham Lincoln


"The Constitution Is Not Suspended in Times of Crisis" - Attorney General Barr

May 17, 2020

Some faith leaders around the country have persisted in holding in-person services - a matter of religious freedom - despite state and local limits on public gatherings.  These gatherings are usually held in the church parking lot as parishioners remain safely in their cars. However, both parishioners and pastors have been arrested and fined.  "Instead of using a scalpel to address this, they're using a chainsaw," said Liberty Counsel. (1)


In mid-April, Attorney General Barr said the government "may not impose special restrictions on religious activity that do not also apply to non-religious activity." (2)  Therefore, if the government allows assembly in comparable places (grocery stores) "even in times of emergency, when reasonable and temporary restrictions are placed on rights, the First Amendment and federal statutory law prohibit discrimination against religious institutions and religious believers." (3)


"Religious freedom in America is not simply a fundamental right but a foundational one," wrote KrisAnne Hall, JD, Constitutional attorney.  "The settlements of the first American colonies were established in the flight from oppressive religious persecution.  Christian martyrs and patriots secured our God-given right to Freedom of Religion with their suffering and even with their lives."  (4)


"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..."  (The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776)


By what authority does the government declare the church non-essential?  "The church is a place where people turn for help and for comfort in a climate of fear and uncertainty."  For almost two millennia, "the church has been viewed by Western civilization as an essential part of society, a refuge in time of trouble or need, a place of peace and a sanctuary ...," KrisAnne Hall wrote. (5)

Remember civil and religious liberty always go together: if the foundation of the one be sapped, the other will fall of course. - Alexander Hamilton

(AP news, 4/4/20(1); the, 4/14/20(2)(3);, Covid-19 Restrictions (4)(5), Shelter in Place)


Religious Liberty or Religious Oppression:  A Time to Choose (Part 2)

May 10, 2020

Across the country, many government officials have announced stay-at-home orders of dubious constitutional validity.  The result is that in many communities the jails are being emptied of criminals while individuals respecting appropriate precautions have been arrested for the crime of being outside their home.  This has led to protests in many states.  "We have God-given rights that are infringed upon right now, every day this state remains closed," said a NC protestor. (1)  "I understand the need for caution, but I think it's gone way past anything reasonable," said a Kentucky resident. (2)


  • NYS Executive Order from governor states:  "all non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reasons (worship services, parties, etc.) are canceled or postponed.  Further, individuals should not gather in ... homes... for religious services until the end of this public health emergency."(3) He further provides an online form for residents to report fellow New Yorkers they think are breaking the rules.


  • Michigan governor issued new orders to prohibit visiting family or friends unless to provide care; buying non-essential items such as gardening equipment, potting soil and seeds when in a store buying groceries; banning travel to a vacation home; banning some types of boats but not others.


  • Los Angeles, CA, mayor is encouraging residents to "snitch" on fellow citizens.  "We want to thank you for turning folks in and making sure we are all safe."(4)


  • NY City mayor is telling New Yorkers, “Bang, send a photo like this, and we will make sure that enforcement comes right away," if they observe anyone being too close.(5)


  • Kentucky State Troopers recorded license plate numbers of Christians who attended drive-in services on Easter…in spite of nails spread across the drive way entrances.


  • In NC, as in all states, abortion clinics continue in operation but elective surgery such as hip replacements are banned in hospitals.  Sidewalk pro-life counselors, practicing social-distancing in front of a NC abortion facility, were handcuffed and arrested.  "We are a federally recognized public charity," said a Cities4Life volunteer.  "I am well within my constitutional authority to be here."(6)


"The human desire for freedom is universal and cannot be repressed. The longing for freedom accrues and is common to all humanity." - Sec. of State Pompeo, Nov. 15, 2019, reflecting on his recent trip to Germany to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. (7)


"Safety from external danger is the most powerful director of national conduct.  To be more safe (nations), at length, become willing to run the risk of being less free.”
Alexander Hamilton, Founding Father


(, 4/17/20(1)(2);, 4/6/20;, 4/11/20(3);, 4/4/20(4);, 4/18/20(5);, 4/15/20;, 4/6/20(6);, 11/15/19(7)


Religious Liberty or Religious Oppression:

A Time to Choose (Part 1)

May 3, 2020

"Those that would give up essential Liberty to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”  Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father, 1755

While all Americans have a moral, and practical, obligation to choose behaviors that respect their own and their neighbors best health and welfare during this coronavirus pandemic, we should be alert to the ramifications of suspending our "inalienable rights" of freedom of religion and to peaceably assemble that are protected in the U.S. Constitution and every State Constitution. These rights do not come as permissions from government but pre-exist all law and government.


"These Shelter in Place Orders often establish that failure to comply with the order will result in civil or criminal penalties," wrote KrisAnne Hall, Constitution attorney. (1)  Yet, these newly invented crimes are left to the discretion of individual police officers.  Courts call this "unbridled discretion" and have held this to be fundamentally unjust.  "But when a government uses threat and force to compel behavior and the Rights of the people are ignored & due process denied under the pretense of necessity, the people are not safe, the welfare of the people is not respected...," KrisAnne explained. (2)


Kansas City - Police shut down a parade of elementary school teachers who organized a parade, from the healthy safety of their individual cars, to boost the morale of their students.


San Diego, CA - Sheriff's department gave citations to people committing the crime of "watching the sunset" on the beach.


Port Isabel, TX - Mayor decided that residents may not travel with more than 2 people in their vehicle, causing distress & confusion to families with 2 or more children.


Colorado - A police chief said the act of leaving your home and going outside is now a "privilege" that can be revoked if misused.


Ohio - A prosecutor said that those who defy his state's stay-at-home-order are committing "felonious assault."


These, and many other seemingly ridiculous abuses are happening around the country as usually reasonable law enforcement departments, in the name of mitigating the virus spread, are assuming powers not granted in law or the constitution.  


"America was built upon the Principle of Liberty," wrote KrisAnne Hall. (3)  It was not constructed upon a principle of National Security or power of National Emergency.


Our founders believed that the preservation of Liberty was more important than life itself.  The proof of this belief is found in the last sentence of the Declaration of Independence:  "And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."


(, 4/6/20;, 4/2/20;, Shelter in Place Orders, Covid 19 Restrictions (1)(2)(3); Declaration of Independence)


Lessons in Liberty - During COVID 19

April 26, 2020

"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom."  William Pitt the Younger, 1783


The COVID-19 public health crisis has imposed restrictions on in-person gatherings, causing most houses of worship in the U.S. and the World, to temporarily close their doors.  While many legal experts claim that the government can force churches to close during a health crisis, there remain Constitutional questions about whether these restrictions are reasonable and equally applied to other types of organizations as well as businesses.


Both federal and state authorities have determined that certain institutions and businesses may continue to operate as usual if they are considered "essential" to the public.   This criterion allows supermarkets, Walmart, Amazon, 7-11, Home Depot, as well as gas stations, auto repair shops, restaurants that deliver food, house builders and others, to continue their usual operations as “essential” to the public good.  


Why then, are these enterprises where multiple people gather, following "social distancing" rules, more "essential" to people than churches that feed their spiritual needs?  In times of public crisis, isn't spiritual nourishment also "essential"?   For example, "If doctors and nurses, taking precautions, can go in and out of hospitals, why not the spiritual doctors?" asked Mark Mallett, author and missionary. (1)


"According to the courts, a law that infringes upon a fundamental right, like Freedom of Religion, must overcome certain challenges:  The law must not be arbitrary, oppressive, or unreasonable.  The law must be equally applied to secular businesses (etc.) ... When arbitrary number limits are applied to a church and not to ... a grocery store, there is not equal application," wrote KrisAnne Hall, Constitutional Attorney, author. "By what authority does the government declare the church non-essential?" (2)


 In Pope Francis' homily, "Faith is Never a Private Matter", Dec. 6, 2013, he explained:

Prohibition against worshipping God is a sign of "general apostasy".  It tries to convince Christians to take "a more reasonable and peaceful road", by obeying "the tenets of worldly powers" who try to reduce religion to "a private matter". (3)

(,3/21/20;, 4/6/20 (1);, COVID 19 Restrictions (2);, Francis Homily,Nov28,2013 (3)


Religious Freedom & Coronavirus Restrictions

April 19, 2020

Religious freedom, the right of man to follow his conscience, is rooted in the nature of God and the nature of man.  It is God's original design for humanity.

"God said, 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness' (Gen 1:26)   So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them" (Gen 1:27) 


Therefore, human beings are created for relationship with God and God desires relationship with us.  But a relationship with God can never be coerced or forced.  Authentic relationships must be entered into freely.  So, God Himself has given human beings freedom to embrace or reject him.  Therefore, God's basic design for humanity gives rise to religious freedom. (1) (p.21)


Being made in God's image means, among other things, that we reflect what God is like through our creativity, capacity for reason, sense of moral responsibility, and ability to make choices.  Being made in God's image means we're created with a unique capacity to enter loving relationships with one another and with God Himself. (p.24)


This, ultimately, is the origin of religious liberty.  We can't have an authentic relationship with God unless we have the freedom to embrace or reject Him.  And if God Himself doesn't coerce us, how much less should the government.  When the government tries to prevent us from freely relating to God - it is elevating itself above God and violating the created order. (p. 28)


Hence, religious freedom requires that the government, within reasonable limits, leaves religion alone as much as possible. (p.38)


(Free to Believe, by Luke Goodrich (1); Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, 2nd Edition)


A Theology of Religious Freedom

April 12, 2020

America’s first official day of national prayer was in 1775 when the Continental Congress called for the public to fast and pray for the leadership of the Colonies.  After that time, presidents periodically called the nation to pray during times of war or other hardships.

In 1952, Pres. Harry Truman signed a law that each year the president must issue a proclamation calling the people to pray, but didn't designate a specific day.  In 1988, Congress chose the first Thursday in May as the National Day of Prayer, and it was signed into law by Pres. Reagan


President Trump, responding to the Corona Virus outbreak, recently declared, "It is my great honor to declare Sunday, March 15th, 2020, as a National Day of Prayer.  We are a Country that, throughout our history, has looked to God for protection and strength in times like these ..." (1)


Referring to our history, President Trump stated, "In our times of greatest need, Americans have always turned to prayer to help guide us through trials and periods of uncertainty.  As we continue to face the unique challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, ... we must not cease asking God for added wisdom, comfort, and strength, and we must especially pray for those who have suffered harm or who have lost loved ones." ......

"As we unite in prayer, we are reminded that there is no burden too heavy for God to lift or for this country to bear with His help.  Luke 1:37, promises that 'For with God nothing shall be impossible,' and those words are just as true today as they have ever been.  As one Nation under God, we are greater than the hardships we face, and through prayer and acts of compassion and love, we will rise to this challenge and emerge stronger and more united than ever before.  May God bless each of you, and may God bless the United States of America."  President Trump's proclamation: National Day of Prayer, March 15, 2020 (2)

(, 3/14/20 (1); (2);;,3/14/20)


No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the people of the United States

 ~ George Washington


President Trump’s Call for National Day of Prayer Follows Tradition of America's Founders & Presidents

April 5, 2020

"We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-church, between the gospel and the anti-gospel, between Christ and the antichrist.”

Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, the future Pope John Paul II, 1976

American Heritage Dictionary:  "Socialism is any of various theories or systems of social organization in which the means of producing and distributing goods is owned collectively or by a centralized government that often plans and controls the economy."

Catholic Social Teaching (  "Only persons are made in the image of God...  The dignity of man, the concept of personhood, cannot be built upon agnostic or atheistic foundations."

Pope John Paul II (1978-2005)   "Socialism considers the individual person simply as an element, a molecule within the social organism, so that the good of the individual is completely subordinated to the functioning of the socio-economic mechanism."


Pope Benedict XVI (2005-2013)   "We do not need a State which regulates and controls everything, but a State which ... generously acknowledges and supports initiatives arising from (those)...closest to those in need (government power ought to reside at the local or regional level and least centralized competent authority.)


Pope Paul VI (1963-1978)   "Too often Christians attracted by socialism tend to idealize it in terms which are very general: a will for justice, solidarity and equality.  They refuse to recognize the limitations of the historical socialist movements, ..."


Pope John XXIII (1958-1963)   "Pope Pius XI emphasized the fundamental opposition between Communism and Christianity, and made it clear that no Catholic could subscribe even to moderate Socialism.  The reason is that Socialism is founded on a doctrine of human society which ... takes no account of any objective other than that of material well-being... it places too severe a restraint on human liberty..."


Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903)  "To remedy these wrongs (in society) the socialists, working on the poor man's envy of the rich, are striving to do away with private property, and contend that individual possessions should become the common property of all, to be administered by the State or by municipal bodies.  They hold that by thus transferring property from private individuals to the community, the present mischievous state of things will be set to rights, inasmuch as each citizen will then get his fair share of whatever there is to enjoy.  But (if) their contentions ... were carried into effect, the working man himself would be among the first to suffer." 



Five Popes Reflect on the Philosophy of Socialism and Communism

March 29, 2020

U.S. Ambassador for Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, has warned that religious persecution is spreading worldwide with alarming anti-Christian violence in Nigeria and a growing religious surveillance state in China.

"There's a lot of people getting killed in Nigeria," said Brownback .  "80% of the world's population live in countries that have religious persecution. “...”It's the most deadly time in the history of Christendom for you to be a Christian.  There's more Christian persecution than any time in the history of mankind." (1)


The incidents are grim and harrowing.  Nigerian villagers talk about the machetes falling on arms, fingers, heads, and pregnant bellies.  They've been lit on fire, sold into sex slavery, shot and raped - all because they're Christians.


"Boko Haram has killed more Christians in Nigeria than ISIS killed in Iraq and Syria combined," said former Congressman Frank Wolf. "(They're) committing genocide.  Genocide." (2)


Ambassador Brownback said there have been "some pretty good meetings recently" with the Nigerian government but is calling for more dialogue between Muslims and Christians to "really try to get them working together instead of killing each other." (3)


China has developed a "social credit" system over the last 10 years that has been used to track and punish religious minorities.  If a person has a low social credit score, said Brownback, they could be prohibited from obtaining an education or living in a certain area. “And it won't be just for you.  It will be your friends with you.  If anyone pings your cell phone, that will be tracked and they'll get the same low social credit score you get. And these are the systems being modeled and worked on and done now today in China," he said.  China is "best in the world" at religious persecution and surveillance of religious groups and has been engaged in a "war with faith." (4), 2/28/20 (1);, 3/11/20 (2);, international-religious-freedom  2/8/20 (3)(4)


"We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-church, between the gospel and the anti-gospel, between Christ and the antichrist."   

Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, the future Pope John Paul II, 1976


A Slow-Motion and Horrific Religious War

Is Under Way, Worldwide

March 22, 2020

A Texas-based jeweler is challenging the military's trademark office which pulled the company's trademark licenses saying they can no longer display military insignia and Bible verses on the replica dog-tags it has sold to service members since the 9/11 attacks.

For about 20 years, Shields of Strength has provided service members with memento dog-tags featuring inspirational messages based on verses in scripture such as Joshua 1:9,” Be strong and courageous.... " or Psalm 27:3, "Though my enemies attack me, I will not fear; ...I will still trust in God." (1)  In addition to sales, a few hundred thousand of these items have been donated to military units and personnel.

In July, the anti-religious, Military Religious Freedom Foundation, demanded the military branches stop allowing Shields of Strength to use a military emblem, saying it "poisons the constitutionally-mandated separation of Church and State ..."  (2)  The fact that separation of Church and State is not in the Constitution and the First Amendment protects Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Speech, did not deter the Pentagon from canceling the trademark licenses. They cited "Negative Press" as their motivation. (3)

A Constitutional Law attorney said, "While I would absolutely oppose the military issuing such tags, ... it is outrageous that service members can't voluntarily inscribe their own tags.  From a legal point of view, if the military allows any inscriptions at all (like "I love you Mom") then banning religious ones is content discrimination."  (4)

At present, anyone can order dog-tags online with military insignia and a non-religious saying such as "The difficult we do immediately, the impossible takes longer." (5)


( (1);, 12/4/19;; (4);


"A government that roams the land ... scrubbing away any reference to the divine will strike many as aggressively hostile to religion.   Supreme Court Justice, Samuel A. Alito 


Military Bans Bible Verses on Dog-Tags

but Allows Non-religious Sayings

March 15, 2020

In a recent interview with Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Attorney General William Barr said, "The reason the (Founding Fathers) felt they could grant so much freedom in the Constitution and only provide for limited government was because religion would be the force that guided people so they could largely govern themselves.  Alexis de Tocqueville observed that the centrality of religion was (the cause) of the health of American democracy. ”(1)

Barr defended a person’s natural right to obey one's conscience above one's government.  He is concerned that the rule of law, fair play, and due process are threatened by "militant secularists" trying to "impose their values" on others.” (2)


Maine & Maryland Barring Religious Schools from Tuition Support Programs

- Accused of Anti-religious Hostility

More than 100 small towns in Maine don't have their own high school, so families choose a high school and the town pays the bill up to the rate allowed by the state.  Three families are now suing the state for religious discrimination since, while the state will pay tuition for a private school, it refuses to pay tuition for a religious affiliated school. 

"When a state decides to empower parents to choose the school that is best for their child, to then say, but we are going to exclude religious schools...just strikes at the very core of our religious freedom...," said an attorney for Institute for Justice. (3)

Maryland revoked the Baltimore-area Bethel Christian Academy from participation in a voucher program benefitting low-income students and demanded the school repay more than $100,000 for their previous participation.

"The government may not discriminate against religious schools simply because it dislikes their religious beliefs.  Bethel offers an academically rigorous and caring Christian education in a diverse environment...Maryland's families deserve better and that's why we're grateful Bethel's lawsuit can move forward," said an Alliance Defending Freedom attorney. (4)

(, 1/30/20(1)(2);, 1/21/20(3);, 11/14/19(4);, 1/2/20;


Parents who have the primary and inalienable right and duty to educate their children must enjoy true liberty in their choice of schools.         Gravissimum Educationis, 1965 


The Health of American Democracy

Requires the Centrality of Religion

March 8, 2020

During a Jan. 28 radio interview with Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Attorney General William Barr contended the First Amendment is under assault and that "militant secularists" are trying to impose their secular values on religious people.  "To me, the problem today is not that religious people are trying to impose their views on nonreligious people, it's the opposite - it's that militant secularists are trying to impose their values on religious people and they're not accommodating the freedom of religion of people of faith.” (1)

"Religion was viewed by the Founders as ... essential to maintaining a free country.  We believe in the separation of church & state, but what permits a limited government and minimal command and control of the population and allows people to have freedom of choice in their lives ... is the fact that they are a people capable of disciplining themselves according to moral values.” (2)


Little Sisters, Sued by Some States, Going Back to Supreme Court - for 3rd Time!

The Little Sisters of the Poor are a Catholic charitable order, founded in 1839, that cares for the elderly poor by operating 30 nursing homes across the country.  These homes have lay staff for whom the Little Sisters provide group health insurance.  Then - in 2012, the federal and some state governments decided that under the newly passed Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Sisters must ignore their beliefs and include contraception and abortion-inducing drugs in their insurance coverage or face crippling fines.

2013 - The Supreme Court issued an injunction protecting the Little Sisters but the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against them.

2014 - The Supreme Court ruled that closely held companies - mostly family owned businesses - are exempt from the contraception mandate.

2016 - The Supreme Court heard the 10th Circuit's case against the Sisters and unanimously overturned their ruling. 

2018 - This administration issued a new rule that contains an exemption for religious ministries in relation to the ACA.

Then - Several states sued the federal government and targeted the Little Sisters in particular by arguing that they are not religious enough, thereby forcing them to abandon their core beliefs and provide contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs.

2020 - The Supreme Court will again hear this case. 

(;; the, 1/30/20;, 1/31/20(1);,1/30/20(2)


It is simply unreasonable for government to demand that the Sisters violate their consciences and put a wall between their faith and their good works.     Archbishop William E. Lori  


Warning! - An Organized Effort to

Drive Religion Out of the Public Square

March 1, 2020

"The case before the Supreme Court today (Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue) concerns whether the Constitution offers states a license to discriminate against religion," said the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).  "Our country's tradition of non-establishment of religion does not mean that governments can deny otherwise available benefits on the basis of religious status.... This is an issue of justice for people of all faith communities." (1)


Montana created a program where people who donated to private-school funding organizations received a modest $150 tax credit.  However, the Montana Dept. of Revenue cited the state's anti-religious Blaine Amendment to exclude those donors whose money went to religious private schools but allowed non-religious private-school donors to benefit.  Therefore, children who attend religious schools were stripped of their right to participate in the scholarship program.


The Blaine Amendments - found in 37 state constitutions - originated in the late 1800's to block Catholic demands for equal treatment of their schools.  The anti-legal immigrant, anti-Catholic provisions aimed to bar public funding of so-called "sectarian" schools of which over 2/3 were Catholic schools.


"But this case is not only about constitutional law...  Blaine Amendments ... were expressions of hostility toward the Catholic Church.  We hope that the Supreme Court will take this opportunity to bring an end to this shameful legacy," wrote the USCCB.(2)



 1/17/20;, 1/28/20)


“Blaine amendments … have the effect of excluding people of faith from participating in benefits that should be publicly available to everyone. Without religious liberty properly understood,

all Americans suffer.”       USCCB Fact Sheet, Office of Religious Liberty, 2018


Anti-Catholic 1889 Blaine Amendment 

Goes to U.S. Supreme Court

February 23, 2020

In February, Americans remember the birthdays of two champions of freedom:  George Washington, the "Father of our Country," on Feb. 22, and Abraham Lincoln, the "Great Emancipator," on Feb. 12.  Washington liberated Americans from British tyranny and Lincoln liberated slaves from bondage.


Although some scholars today choose to question the motives of these great men as to whether they truly believed in freedom for colonists and slaves, it cannot be disputed that their actions did indeed bring liberty.  Since reading minds to discover motive is impossible, we can only judge facts, and the actions of both Washington and Lincoln qualify them as champions of freedom.

Historians have called George Washington the "Indispensable Man" for his role in the fight for freedom and creation of the United States of America.  One congressman's eulogy supports this title with these memorable words:  "First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen, ... Pious, just, humane, temperate, and sincere; uniform, dignified, and commanding ..."


The U.S. Senate official message read:  "Let his countrymen consecrate the memory of the heroic general, the patriotic statesman and the virtuous sage.  His example is now complete, and it will teach wisdom and virtue ... not only in the present age, but in future generations, as long as our history shall be read." (1)


Abraham Lincoln issued an executive order, the Emancipation Proclamation, Jan. 1, 1863, which changed the legal status under federal law of more than 3.5 million African Americans in the Confederate states from slave to free.  The Proclamation broadened the goals of the Civil War, making the freedom of slaves an explicit goal of the Union war effort and one of the two primary war goals.  To ensure the abolition of slavery in all of the U.S., Lincoln pushed for passage of the Thirteenth Amendment and insisted that Reconstruction plans for the Southern states require abolition in new state constitutions.


Lincoln is also revered for his many wise and pithy sayings:

    "Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."

    "Freedom is the last, best hope of earth."

    "America will never be destroyed from the outside.  If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."



They Fought for Freedom - February 16, 2020

"Faith-based groups should have the opportunity to compete on a level playing field as they seek to partner with the federal government to provide critical social services," said the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.  "These proposed (new) rules protect religious liberty, a core constitutional right..." (1)


On Religious Freedom Day, the administration issued 9 rules to protect freedom by eliminating burdensome requirements, issued in past years, that unfairly imposed unique regulatory burdens on religious organizations.  Federal agencies, including the Dept. of Labor, must now ensure that the grant-making practices of state recipients of Federal funding comply with the First Amendment.


Religious freedom has been an ongoing concern in recent years as anti-faith groups have brought litigation against faith-based nonprofits and privately owned companies.  These opponents of religious freedom have created much confusion by suggesting that it is illegal or even unconstitutional, for religious organizations to participate in federal contracts simply because they choose to operate in accordance with their faith.  The end result was a distortion of law that put religious contractors at a distinct disadvantage.  Many of them had to make an untenable choice: continue operating in accordance with their deeply held religious beliefs or violate their conscience just for the opportunity to compete for a federal contract.


"From its opening pages, the story of America has been rooted in the truth that all men and women are endowed with the right to follow their conscience, worship freely, and live in accordance with their convictions.  On Religious Freedom Day, we honor the foundational link between freedom and faith in our country and reaffirm our commitment to safeguarding the religious liberty of all Americans."    ~President Trump, Proclamation, Jan.16, 2020.


(Religious Freedom Day 2020 Proclamation; first;, 8/15/19; daily, 8/14/19; White House press release; (1)


"Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature."   ~Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father


Administration Committed to Ensuring

Religious Organizations a Level Playing Field

February 9, 2020

"I didn't want to file a lawsuit, but after many unsuccessful meetings with the (school) administration, I wound up realizing it was the only way to secure future students' rights to pray...," Chase Windebank told President Trump on National Freedom of Religion Day, Jan. 16. (1)  Chase had started a small group of fellow HS students praying during free period in his Colorado Springs school.  By senior year, when the group had grown to 90 students, the administration banned students from praying during school hours - even during lunch.  


The updated guidelines, originally issued at Pres. Clinton’s direction, and announced by the White House on Jan. 16, are designed to end this abuse of student Constitutional protections and promote teachers' and students' right to pray in public schools.  Windebank said, "And you guys are making sure that the Founding Fathers are living in our nation.  So, thank you very, very much.”  (2)  


Since secular legal groups have regularly pressured local school districts to end any perceived entanglement with religion, the Dept. of Education new rule "ensures the equal treatment and Constitutional rights ... owed to students on campus." (3)


(1) (2), 1/16/20, transcript; (3), 1/16/20; ncregister, 1/17/20;


Students Should Not Have to Sue to Defend Their Basic Right to Religious Expression
February 2, 2020

"We don't worship government - we worship God."  ~President Trump, 2020


On Jan.16, National Religious Freedom Day, President. Trump said, "This afternoon, we're proudly announcing historic steps to protect the First Amendment right to pray in public schools...It is a sacred principle of our Republic that government must never stand between the people and God.  Yet, in public schools around the country, authorities are stopping students and teachers from praying, sharing their faith, or following their religious beliefs.... Tragically, there is a growing ...impulse...that seeks to punish, restrict, and even prohibit religious expression." (1)


For seven years, Catholics for Freedom of Religion has been reporting instances of students denied their right to religious expression in their schools.  


The Trump administration has updated the guidelines, first issued under President Clinton, and is sending them to every school that receives federal funds. The Guidance on Constitutionally Protected Prayer and Religious Expression in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools can be read on the United States Department of Education website at                       

“These actions by the president should prompt discussions among parents, clergy and educators that will end the too common suppression of students’ appropriate expressions of their faith.” said Barbara Samuells, President of Catholics for Freedom of Religion.


To monitor compliance with the guidelines, every public school will continue to certify to their state that they have no policy that conflicts with students' religious freedom rights.  As before, a public school's federal funding could be suspended if the school is not in compliance.” (2), 1/16/20, transcript;, 1/17/20;, 1/17/20;; (2), 1/17/19


"The Constitution was never meant to prevent people from praying; its declared purpose was to protect their freedom to pray."      ~President Ronald Reagan


President Trump Safeguards the Right to

Religious Freedom in Public Schools
January 26, 2020

Each year since 1993, the President declares January 16th to be "Religious Freedom Day," and calls upon Americans to "observe this day through appropriate events and activities in homes, schools, and places of worship."(1)


January 16 is the anniversary of the passage, in 1786, of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, written by Thomas Jefferson, and is the model for the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights.  It is a statement about freedom of conscience that   protects the rights of people to express their religious believes without suffering discrimination.  Also, the government is banned from interference in religion and individual beliefs as well as taxing people to pay for the support of the local church.


This principle of a "wall of separation between church and state," was written by Pres.  Jefferson in 1802 to further clarify and support individual freedom of conscience and the open practice of faith without government interference, as intended in the First Amendment.


"On Religious Freedom Day, we celebrate our Nation's long-standing commitment to freedom of conscience and the freedom to profess one's own faith.  The right to religious freedom is innate to the dignity of every human person and is fundamental to the pursuit of truth."  (2)  President Trump Proclamation, 2019


( (1);;;, 1/16/18;, 1/15/19 (2)


"Almighty God hath created the mind free, and manifested his supreme will that free it shall remain ..."   Thomas Jefferson


National Religious Freedom Day - January 16

A day to learn, celebrate and thank God…
January 19, 2020

California Raids Christian School & Seeks to Change its Beliefs


A Christian boarding school in California, River View Christian Academy (RVCA), founded in 1993 under the ministry of Teen Rescue, has won a reprieve in court against the State of CA efforts to shut it down.  The dispute centers on the States' re-labeling the school as a "community care facility."  This label would force the school into heavy regulation by the State's Department of Social Services including mandates that violate the school’s religious mission and moral standards.  For example, the State requires licensed facilities to allow students the right to engage in spiritual and sexual exploration, contradicting the goals of many parents enrolling their children in RVCA.


The case began in January, 2019, when a raid of RVCA was conducted after an internet rumor that the school housed illegal drugs and stockpiled weapons.  The raid, terrifying to students and staff, included 16 armed officers from the CA Highway Patrol, 2 canine units, and 17 social workers.  Then, instead of apologizing for its dangerous blunder, the State imposed daily fines against the school for allegedly operating as a private "unlicensed community care facility,"(1) even though it has operated as a private school for 25 years, filing an annual affidavit with the CA Department of Education.


Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of the school, winning a temporary reprieve because the judge expressed concern with the 1st Amendment implications.


PJI's lead attorney said, "I have never seen this level of aggressive, militant, and ideologically-driven conduct by a State agency against a religious institution.  As public schools have become increasingly hostile to parents, the courts have insisted that the parents' option is to choose private education.  Now, that fundamental right is under attack."(2)


**Take Action:  Parental Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, introduced in the Senate, 8/1/17, and to the House, 1/30/19, still awaits action.  This joint resolution states that:

*  the liberty of parents to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their children is a fundamental right.

*  the parental right to direct education includes the right to choose, as an alternative to public education, private, religious, or home schools, and the right to make reasonable choices within public schools for one's child.

(, 11/20/19;, 6/7/19(1)(2);, 11/20/19, 6/7/19;, 6/20/19;;


"Train up a child in the way he should go.  Even when he is old, he will not depart from it."    Proverbs 22:6  

Wappingers Falls, NY:  This NY school district violated federal law when it rejected a Christian student's request to start an on-campus Christian club, according to pro-bono law firm, First Liberty Institute.

Freshman Daniela Barca's application to form the "OMG! Christian Club" at Ketcham H.S., aimed to offer "faith-based support" where students have "discussions about living for God in a godless society," (1) was rejected by her principal who claimed the club was "too exclusive."


First Liberty Institute sent a letter to Wappingers Central S.D. stating, "The discrimination toward Daniela's religious speech has prevented OMG from pursuing their community-wide goals of 'food drives, clothing drives,... and other charitable endeavors."(2)  The letter also notes the school has about 2 dozen on-campus groups, including a "Pride Club," claiming that the school is already allowing "exclusive " groups on campus.


"Ketcham school officials blatantly ignored the plain text of the Equal Access Act (EAA) of 1984 by rejecting Daniela's Christian club because of its religious speech," said attorney Keisha Russell. (3) The EAA clearly states that it is unlawful for public secondary schools that receive federal assistance to "deny equal access or fair opportunity" to students on the basis of "religious, political, philosophical, or other content of the speech at such meetings," (4)


First Liberty attorneys state they expect the school to allow the club no later than January 2, 2020.


Naples, FL:   The Gulf Coast H.S. denied a pro-life club, Sharks 4 Life, earlier this school year and is violating the U.S. Constitution according to Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).  


While recognizing almost 80 clubs including political group Turning Point USA, Students for Change, Korean Culture, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Gay-Straight Alliance, the school principal rejected pro-life saying it was "too political and controversial." (5)


"The failure to recognize Sharks 4 Life is blatantly illegal under the Equal Access Act and First Amendment, both of which guarantee students the right to have a student club that stands on equal footing with the hundreds of other student clubs in Collier County public schools," said an ADF spokesman. (6)


(, (1), (2);, 12/13/19 (3);, (4);, 11/20/19 (5)(6)


The December Dilemma:  Celebrating Religious Holidays in Public Schools & the Public Square

December 15, 2019

Every December, public schools, towns and businesses, face the difficult task of acknowledging the various religious and secular holiday traditions celebrated during this time of year without crossing the line of promoting a particular belief.

The First Amendment guarantees freedom of religion to all Americans - including young school children - by prohibiting the government from endorsing any particular religious point of view while still respecting and protecting all religious beliefs.

Holiday Myths & Facts

Myth:   Public schools cannot display religious Christmas and Hanukkah symbols.

Fact:  A public school is free to display a Nativity scene, Menorah, and other forms of religious and secular seasonal expression with the purpose of depicting the origins of the holiday.

Myth:   Public school students aren't allowed to sing or play Christmas carols.

Fact:   Students can sing and perform religious carols along with secular ones.  The purpose is to teach about our society's cultural and religious heritage and allow students to perform a full range of music, poetry and drama.

Myth:   Students cannot talk about their faith and the religious origins of their holiday in class assignments.

Fact:   Schools cannot refuse to allow, punish, or give a lower grade to a student who includes a religious viewpoint in a class assignment.  Far from "establishing religion," that would be displaying an anti-religious bias which is unconstitutional and infringing on the free speech of students.

Myth:   Christmas trees, Nativity scenes, and Hanukkah Menorahs cannot be displayed on public land.

Fact:   The Supreme Court has held that these have become both a secular and religious symbol and their display by a public entity does not violate the Establishment Clause. 

(;, 12/11/15;;

"To the American People:   Christmas is not a time or a season but a state of mind. To cherish peace and good will, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.  If we think on these things, there will be born in us a Savior and over us will shine a star sending its gleam of hope to the world." ~ President Calvin Coolidge

Texas:  A recent U.S. District Court ruling will allow doctors to refuse to perform gender-transition surgeries that violate their faith as well as their scientific judgment that the procedures can cause significant risks, especially to children, that include heart conditions, loss of bone density, and increased risk of cancer.  Also, "studies show that children with gender dysphoria found that fewer than one in four children continued to experience that condition into adulthood," said a Becket Law statement.(1)

In May, 2016, the Dept. of Health & Human Services (HHS) issued a rule requiring all doctors to perform gender-transition surgery.  If the doctor refused - even on religious grounds - they could be fired or face severe consequences.

"Today marks a major victory for compassion, conscience, and sound medical judgment," said Luke Goodrich, VP of Becket Law. (2)


Vermont:  The HHS Office for Civil Rights recently announced that the Un. of Vermont Medical Center violated the conscience rights of a nurse forced to assist in an elective abortion in 2018 against her conscience/religious objections.  The nurse was not told the procedure was an abortion until she walked into the room and the doctor said, "Don't hate me."(3)

"Forcing medical staff to assist in the taking of human life inflicts a moral injury on them that is not only unnecessary and wrong, it violates longstanding federal law," said Roger Severino, Director of OCR.  "Our investigation has uncovered serious discrimination by UVMMC against nurses and staff who cannot, in good conscience, assist in elective abortions.  We stand ready to assist UVMMC in changing its policies and procedures to respect conscience rights and remedy the effects of the discrimination."(4)

(, 10/15/19, (1), 10/21/19; (2 ), 10/15/19; (3)(4), 8/28/19,, 8/28/19;, 11/19)


"Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it." ~Albert Einstein


Protecting Conscience Rights for Doctors & Nurses

December 8, 2019

Victories for Americans' First Freedom are happening nationwide, with people of faith reclaiming their most cherished and fundamental God-given liberty.  Recent court decisions set important precedents to protect religious rights for students and for faith-based adoption agencies.


Iowa - In 2018, the University of Iowa banned InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and several other religious groups from the school because they required their leaders to ascribe to its Christian beliefs.  Still, InterVarsity does allow all students to be members.  A Federal Court judge ruled in October, 2019, that university officials had "violated InterVarsity's clearly established (constitutional) right to free speech…  “The Court does not know how a reasonable person could have concluded this was acceptable..."  She ruled these officials can be held personally liable and forced to pay damages out of their own pockets because they failed to follow an earlier ruling in support of InterVarsity.


"We must have leaders who share our faith," said an InterVarsity director.  "No group - religious or secular - could survive with leaders who reject its values."  Would it make sense to force College Democrats to allow a Republican to lead the organization? Must the Libertarians admit Democratic Socialists to leadership positions?  Of course not.


Michigan - In September, a federal court ruled in favor of a faith-based adoption agency and in support of parents of 5 foster children with special needs. The court said, "the State's real goal is not to promote non-discriminatory child placements, but to stamp out St. Vincent's (Catholic Charities) religious belief and replace it with the State's own."


St. Vincent's was one of Michigan's most successful adoption and foster agencies.  It upholds Catholic teaching about marriage and therefore, referred same-sex and unmarried couples to agencies that have no objection to providing them adoption and foster services. In 2019, a new attorney general began a policy targeting faith-based agencies because of their beliefs about same-sex marriage.  She implemented a requirement that religious agencies provide recommendations and endorsement of same-sex couples and she banned religious agencies from making referrals.


Judge Jonker wrote, "What this case is about is whether St. Vincent's may continue to do this work and still profess and promote the traditional Catholic belief that marriage as ordained by God is for one man and one woman."  He called the state's actions a "targeted attack on sincerely held religious belief."

(, 9/27/19;, 9/27/19;, 9/27/19,, 10/11/19;, 10/1/19)

“I will walk about in freedom for I have sought your precepts.”  Psalms 119:45


We Give Thanks for Religious Freedom Wins in 2019

December 1, 2019

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