RELIGIOUS FREEDOM WEEKLY
Janet Stecklein, CNHI Oklahoma, May 17, 2023
OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma’s state superintendent must demand that the Bible be removed from public school libraries if he continues his push to ban books containing “graphic pornography,” an advocacy group said.
In a letter to Superintendent Ryan Walters, officials with the Freedom From Religion Foundation wrote that the Bible contains nearly 150 verses displaying a “pornographic view,” yet other books the Republican official has publicly targeted do not contain the “graphic sexual content” from which he wishes to protect children.
State Sen. Rob Standridge, R-Norman, said the Bible is different than the books Walters is attempting to censor. He said the Bible does not use the same graphic sexual depictions in pictures, images or written descriptions as the books Walters is targeting. He also questioned how many public school libraries actually have Bibles on their shelves.
“They’re essentially trying to remove the rights of parents to protect their children from obscene material,” Standridge said. “And to bring the Bible in the conversation is again despicable because their only goal is to somehow put pornography in front of children. I don’t understand why an adult would want to do that.”
Continue Reading at: https://www.enidnews.com/news/advocacy-group-bible-must-be-banned-if-other-books-stripped-from-schools/article_87f7a1a8-f4f2-11ed-a15c-17c1531767de.html
The government has seen the light and has abandoned its attempt to force an Oklahoma hospital to blow out a small candle or stop serving elderly, disabled, and low-income patients,” Lori Windham, vice president and senior counsel at the Becket religious liberty legal group, said May 5 on Twitter.
The chapel’s candle has never been an issue in previous inspections. Other open flames are permitted at hospitals in kitchen stoves and ovens, gas dryers in the laundry room, flames in gas water heaters, and welding for construction purposes, Windham noted.
According to Windham, the hospital candle is “encased in a thick glass globe, which is itself encased in a second glass globe, covered by a bronze top that fits over the second globe.” This globe rests in a bronze holder affixed to the chapel wall. There are fire extinguishing sprinkler heads around the candle and the local fire marshal has long approved it.
During a Feb. 21 inspection, Windham’s letter to CMS recounted, a surveyor from The Joint Commission at Saint Francis Hospital South in Tulsa “expressly asked to go to the chapel to see if there was a living flame.” The surveyor observed to hospital personnel that “other Catholic hospitals had complied and extinguished the living flame at their chapels, substituting it with an electric light.” While federal standards do classify chapel candles as “flame-producing equipment,” these are only barred within one foot of a nasal cannula, a device to provide supplemental oxygen. The hospital candle is never near such a device. The relevant codes and standards of the National Fire Protection Association expressly permit sanctuary candles.
Continue reading here: bit.ly/3Io2Db9
Why was St. Francis Health System in Oklahoma Threatened with Expulsion from Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP Over Its Long-Approved Sanctuary Candle?
St. Francis, non-profit Health System in Oklahoma is the 12th largest hospital in the country and serves over400,000 patients each year and has provided over 650 million in free health services over the last five years. For 63 years a sanctuary candle has burned without a problem in the chapel at Saint Francis Hospital Yale Campus where vital healthcare is provided for the elderly, poor and disabled in Oklahoma. The fire marshal and government never complained about the candle until now. The hospital’s attorneys from the Beckett Fund point out that the candle is far from medical equipment and shielded by glass holders and a brass top.
Health and Human Services has mandated the extinguishing of the candle even though the hospital has applied four times for an exemption. Now they are working with the Becket Fund attorneys to protect the hospital system’s right to maintain the living flame in accordance with their 1st Amendment right to religious expression and in keeping with Cannon Law which states that when the Eucharist is present, a lamp must shine continuously. If the hospital is forced to extinguish the candle, they will have to remove the Eucharist from the chapel.
Read more at bit.ly/3LYRdwk bit.ly/3HHEDiR
Psalm 30:2 “O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.”
Catholic Hospital System Told to Extinguish Their Sanctuary Candle or Lose Their Ability to Help the Poor Through Medicaid, Medicare or CHIP
By Andrea M Piccotti-Bayer
National Catholic Register
Roughly 20% of our military personnel are Catholics. Thanks to an incomprehensible decision by the hospital, if they or their dependents end up at Walter Reed, they are no longer guaranteed ready access to the Church's sacraments.
Just days before Holy Week, Walter Reed ended its contract for pastoral care with the Franciscan friars of Holy Name College in nearby Silver Spring, Maryland. Incredibly, they are being replaced by a secular government contractor that offers a wide range of specialists in “administrative and religious staffing.” In other words, they are not necessarily priests, and therefore cannot administer the sacraments often asked for by Catholics in the hospital: celebration of the Holy Mass, confession anointing of the sick, and last rites.
Archbishop for the Military Services Timothy Broglio, elected president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops last year, is not happy, to put it mildly — and the hospital should be warned that he is a formidable defender of the Catholics in his care. He says it is “incomprehensible” that essential pastoral care is being taken away from the sick and the aged and that the new contracting group “cannot provide the necessary service.”
James 5:15 “And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.”
Catholic Veterans at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center No Longer Guaranteed Catholic Pastoral Care
Supreme Court Deliberating Case of Christian Postal Worker with Major implications for religious-liberty rights in the U.S.
By: Peter Pinedo/ CNA “In 2019, Gerald Groff resigned from his position with the U.S. Postal Service after years of allegedly being harassed, targeted and disciplined for declining to work Sundays so that he could abide by the Third Commandment, to “keep holy the Sabbath day.” Groff then sued USPS for violating his religious rights. After his claims were denied by both a Pennsylvania district court and the 3rd Circuit Court, the Supreme Court of the United States agreed to take up his appeal on April 18, 2023.
Groff is an evangelical Christian missionary and a former Pennsylvania mailman. In a Tuesday interview with First Liberty Institute, Groff explained that he has a deeply held religious conviction that the Sabbath is “not just about going to church, it’s about obeying the Lord and putting the entire day aside to honor and glorify him.”
According to Groff, he was repeatedly harassed and intimidated by his bosses because of his request to not work on Sundays. After facing escalating disciplinary action and the sense that he was on the brink of termination, Groff resigned from his position with the postal service in 2019 rather than waiting to be fired. Groff sued USPS in the federal District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, saying his right to practice his religion had been violated.” The Supreme Court’s opinion is expected around the end of June.
Third Commandment: Catechism of the Catholic Church
“Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work; but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God;”
First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”
God or Your Job?
April 30, 2023
Delaware and Vermont Bills Threaten Religious Liberty: Their only goal, they state, is to remove the rights of priests.
by Matt Lamb, Mar 21, 2023
Delaware and Vermont legislators are debating bills that would do away with what is called the “seal of confession,” a teaching of the Catholic Church that forbids priests from divulging what is heard during confession, when a Catholic shares his or her sins with a priest and seeks absolution.
Efforts to force Catholic priests to reveal admissions of child abuse heard in the confessional, the location where the sacrament of reconciliation is heard, are a threat to religious liberty.
While it is not clear if anti-Catholic animus is behind this legislation, it is also unclear what this bill would accomplish besides targeting Catholic priests for further questioning and forcing them to choose between going to jail or breaking a sacred promise they made never to divulge what is said in confession.
A priest who shares what someone told him in confession is automatically excommunicated, forbidden from accessing the other sacraments. Continue reading at http://bit.ly/412pMXb
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; -Establishment and Free-Exercise Clauses of the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution
A New Threat to Religious Liberty for Catholics
April 23, 2023
"Historically, religion and its adherents have often been oppressed by government. By contrast, America has been singular in its dedication to preserving the freedom of its people to expect and experience religious freedom. That is now rapidly changing," wrote Kelly Shackelford, president of First Liberty law firm. (1) In the past year there have been a number of violent attacks on churches, church gatherings, statues of Jesus, Virgin Mary, saints and monuments. Churches, synagogues and other church services have been banned or severely restricted, while liquor stores & casinos are allowed to be open. "A nation truly committed to religious freedom would, in a time of national crisis, welcome the essentiality of religion's exercise - not ban it." (2)
Religious liberty court cases have increased at an alarming rate. From the Constitution’s ratification until 1940, there were only 3 Supreme Court cases challenging religious freedom. But since then, more than 75 cases have come before the high Court. Religious freedom has been under increasing siege for eight decades now. (3)
"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." -John Adams, Founding Father and second president.
Speaking at the Univ. of Notre Dame Law School on Oct. 11, 2019, A.G. William Barr said that attacks on religious liberty have contributed to a moral decline in this country. "Secularists and their allies have marshaled all the forces of mass communication, popular culture, the entertainment industry, and academia in an unremitting assault on religion and traditional values." (4)
"The moral problems Barr mentioned in his speech - plus murder, mayhem, and other forms of anti-social behavior - will continue until we regain our moral footing," wrote Dr. Walter E. Williams, professor of economics at George Mason University. "I am all too afraid that a historian, writing a few hundred years from now, will note that the liberty America enjoyed was simply a historical curiosity. Then it all returned to mankind's normal state of affairs - arbitrary abuse and control by the powerful elite." (5)
(newsweek.com, 8/5/20(1)(2)(3); dailysignal.com, 10/23/19(4)(5); the guardian.com, 10/19/19;
deseret.com, 12/29/04; frc.org, 12/2/10)
“It’s the duty of everyone to defend religious freedom and promote it for all people.” - Pope Francis
The Decline - and Possible Fall - of Religious Freedom in America
April 16, 2023
”Conscience is the most sacred of all property." -James Madison, 1792
"More than 200 years ago, the Founding Fathers changed the world by embedding the fundamental human right to religious freedom in the U.S. Constitution. That right now hangs by a thread. More precisely, the First Amendment's "free exercise" of religion clause - that is, the freedom to not just believe but act consistent with one's faith in the public square - is in peril of collapse," wrote author Wesley Smith. (1) The current crisis has several causes that include the secularizing of American culture. Many non-believers don't value religious freedom because they fail to understand that this freedom is the bedrock upon which all our other freedoms are built.
The First Amendment is often no longer interpreted as intended. This started in the 1990 Supreme Court decision involving two Native Americans denied unemployment benefits after being fired for ingesting peyote during a religious ceremony. This case opened the door to oppressing faithful people and led to a public outcry that further led to the creation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA).
Today, many public figures want to destroy RFRA and are promoting the Equality Act, (more accurately called Inequality Act) and the harmful Do No Harm Act that would nullify RFRAs intent to protect religious freedom. If these two acts are passed and signed, Americans' freedom of religion would shrivel to a mere "freedom of worship." This means we would have the right to believe inside the walls of houses of worship but wouldn't be free to act on our beliefs in our public lives.
Sadly, if the U.S. "first liberty" can be so casually thrown away, so too could any other American freedom. This means we all have an essential stake in preserving freedom of religion. "Because once one fundamental freedom is 'disappeared,' others will surely follow." (2)
"It is not enough to say we are Christians. We must live the faith, not only with our words, but with our actions.” -Pope Francis
(epochtimes.com, 5/24/21(1)(2); adl.org, 3/3/17; nbcnews.com, 2/6/18; christianitytoday.com, 3/1/23)
An Attack on Religious Liberty is an Attack on All Our Freedoms
April 9, 2023
"Christian persecution should be seen as, and treated with, the same level of urgency as any other human rights crisis," said Gia Chacon. founder of For the Martyrs. "We have to realize that religious freedom does not mean that we have the ability to go to church. ... Religious freedom means that we have the ability to practice our deeply held religious beliefs in every area of society." (1) If Christians do not stand strong now, anti-Christian movements and attacks will only get worse, and we will soon lose our religious freedom.
Christian College Asks Supreme Court to Uphold Its Biblical Beliefs
"College of the Ozarks (MO) should be free to follow the religious tradition on which it was founded. The government can't strip a private, faith-based institution of its constitutionally protected freedoms because it disagrees with its views about marriage and sexuality," said Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Senior Counsel. (2)
The college is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review a directive from the present administration that forces the school to allow male students into female dorms. "Young women should not be forced to share private spaces with men. That's what this case is about - the ability of a religious school to protect its students," said ADF. (3) "We hope the Supreme Court will take this case to halt the government's inappropriate order targeting religious institutions
And to respect the privacy, dignity and safety of female students.” (4)
Defending Free Speech and Religious Freedom for Georgia Police Officer
Georgia police officer, Jacob Kersey, was wrongfully pressured to resign his job after refusing to remove a Facebook post on his personal account that upheld a biblical view of marriage. Since Kersey was forced to choose between his faith and his job, he felt he had no choice but to resign. Nearly 35,000 citizens signed a petition to defend Officer Kersey. It read, "At a time with sky-high crime rates nationwide, our communities should be supporting our law enforcement officers.... This is religious bigotry. We will not stand for this." (5)
"I think God has really used this (situation) to continue to sound the alarm on the attack on religious liberty," said Former Officer Kersey. "Mine's not the only case. Obviously, you have coach (Joe) Kennedy, you have the fire chief Kelvin Cochran, and others like (Christian baker) Jack Phillips - ... I think it's just God using it to sound the alarm to hopefully wake people up." (6)
"Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand." -Ephesians 6:13
(lifesitenews.com, 2/22/23(1); 1.cbn.com, 3/2/23(2)(4); thecollegefix.com, 3/13/23(3); news.world.edu/christian, 3/3/23; firstliberty.org, 3/17/23(5); dailysignal.com, 3/8/23(6); georgialawnews,com,3/19/23)
Christians Must "Stand Strong" or Risk Losing Religious Freedoms
April 2, 2023
"God is not only true, but truth itself.” -Pope Leo XIII
An Arizona school district says they will no longer hire student-teachers from a Christian university and voted unanimously to end their eleven-year partnership with Arizona Christian University because of the school's religious beliefs.
"We cannot continue to align ourselves with organizations that starkly contrast our values, and say that we legitimately care about diversity, equity, and inclusion and that we legitimately care about all our families," said the Washington Elementary School District president.... "While we recognize the right of individuals to practice their faith, public schools are secular institutions. ... Arizona Christian University (ACU) policies do not align with our commitment to create a safe place for our LGBTQ+ students, staff, and community." (1)
"While I full-heartedly believe in religious freedom and people being able to practice whatever faith that they have, I had some concerns regarding looking at this particular institution," said school board member Tamille Valenzuela. ... "My concerns (are) when I go to ACU website, they are committed to Jesus Christ, accomplishing his will and advancements on earth as in Heaven. Part of their values is to transform the culture with truth by promoting the Biblically-informed values that are foundational to Western civilization, including the centrality of family, traditional sexual morality, and lifelong marriage between one man and one woman. I want to know how bringing teachers from an institution that is ingrained in these values so directly brings impact to three of our board members who are part of the LGBT community. ... Because that makes me feel like I could not be safe in this school district." (2)
Arizona Christian University (ACU) filed a federal lawsuit alleging religious discrimination by the Washington Elementary School Board after the school board canceled their contract with ACU. Recently, hundreds of community members came to a school board meeting to object to its policy that the school will no longer hire graduates of ACU based on their Christian beliefs.
"We will sometimes need to challenge laws that would impair our freedom to practice our faiths, doing so in reliance on our constitutional rights to the free exercise of religion." -Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
(townhall.com, 3/7/23(1); foxnews.com, 3/3/23(2); pjmedia.com, 3/10/23; msn.com, 3/3/23; the blaze.com, 3/3/23)
"Hostility is always at the beginning of the persecution of Christians." -Pope Francis
A Catholic priest was burned alive and his assistant pastor was shot in the parish residence in north central Nigeria in January, 2023. "It's a continuation of a situation that's been going on for years," said Stephen Rasche from a center for peace and justice. "Many of the victims go unreported - all sorts of different types of Christians who are living in rural areas." (1) "This is a sad moment. For a priest to be killed in such a manner means that we are all not safe. These terrorists have lost it and drastic action is needed to end this ongoing carnage," said the state governor of Sani Bello. (2)
The World Index of Christian Persecution cites Nigeria as the first in the world for violence against Christians. It is estimated that 89% of Christians killed throughout the world are located in Nigeria with more than 7,600 Nigerian Christians murdered from January 2021 to June 2022. Nigeria is 53.5% Muslim, 10.6% Catholic, and 35.3% other Christian according to the CIA World Facebook.
The Christian churches in India are exhausted by the surge of anti-conversion laws and accusations of illegal proselytization. Mobs are driving out Christians from their villages and many face property destruction and personal violence .Recently, 22,000 Christians from many denominations and around the country gathered at the nation's capital to demand better. "This protest is basically to call the attention of the government to the increasing violence against Christians and our institutions," said the Orthodox Syrian Church in Delhi.(3) "This coming together of all denominations ... is a unity to strengthen the kingdom of God," said the National Council of Churches in India. "It is a cry of our people ... who are suffering in rural areas. They have a right to believe in their God, but that is being curtailed." (4) "Wherever persecution is reported, we approach the authorities to intervene and help Christians who are being targeted, but instead the authorities start to act against the Christians rather than help them ... the situation in the state is worsening with every passing day ...," said attorney Patsy David. (5)
"The age of martyrs is not yet over ... the Church as more martyrs now than in the first centuries." -Pope Francis
(aleteia.org, 1/15/23(1); cna.com, 1/15/23(2); abcnews.com, 1/15/23; africanews.com, 1/15/23; christianitytoday.com, 2/27/23(3)(4)(5); religionnews.com, 3/9/23; persecution.org, 3/9/23)
Persecution of Christians Increases in Nigeria and India
“The liberty enjoyed by the people of these States of worshipping Almighty God, agreeable to their consciences, is not only among the choicest of their blessings, but also of their rights." -George Washington
After more than two weeks and worldwide headlines, spontaneous revival services at Asbury University in central Kentucky came to an end recently - but the revival goes on off campus. On Feb. 23, during the final service on campus, people prayed over college campuses, asking God to bring revival to the world.
The school decided to end the on-campus services after tens of thousands of visitors flooded the campus and the small town of Wilmore, Kentucky, overwhelming local facilities and blocking traffic for miles. Asbury President Kevin Brown said the school's leaders felt that Asbury's role was complete and hoped that revival continues in other spaces.
"I just met so many people who didn't get to Asbury who wanted to get there, people who were filled with much regret because 'God did something and I missed it," said evangelist Nick Hall from Minneapolis, who arranged to continue the services in Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky (1) "We want to help people be able to feel confident to take this home, to reach their friends. And our prayer is that this will be unleashed in thousands of churches and schools from this place to the nations," Hall said. (2)
"We came all the way here from Orlando," said Christian Gonzalez who came to Lexington with his grandmother and sister. "We're just hoping to feel relief coming out of here, feeling like all my worries are gone. It's like starting anew almost." (3)
"Revival begins in our hearts," said Gary Lane from CBN News. "And we don't need to travel to Kentucky to experience the Holy Spirit. Still, many of us haven't seen revival like this since the Jesus movement of the 1970s. ... God is answering those prayers - those years of prayers for revival. So, let's embrace it. And go with God. And wait and see what God will do to transform America and the world." (4)
"Lord, I have heard of your fame, I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known." -Habakkuk 3:2
(religionnews.com, 2/28/23(1); lex18.com, 2/24/23; 1cbn.com, 2/27/23(2)(3)(4; ljr.com, 2/22/23; christianpost.com, 2/20/23; 1cbn.com, 2/17/23)
Asbury Revival Ends on Campus - But Its Spirit Lives On
We know that our culture's going to be changed by this." - Asbury University senior
"Attending the revival at Asbury was an unforgettable experience. We could literally feel the 'weighty' presence of God as soon as we walked into the building," said Jon Burdette of Dare 2 Share Ministries. (1)
A revival erupted on Feb. 8 at Asbury University, located in a small Kentucky town, after an evening chapel service didn't stop and transformed into a constant impromptu gathering that has since generated worldwide interest. Day and night, students and professors are passionately worshipping Christ. By Feb. 20th, an estimated 50,000 people had flocked to this Kentucky town with a total population of 6,000.
On Feb. 13th, Asbury Un. senior Alexandra Presta said, "Right now, I think we've reached over 120 hours of nonstop worship, praise, confession, testimony, Scripture, reading - you name it." ... "I was in chapel on Wednesday, and it was an ordinary chapel service ... we have them three times a week. But people just kept worshipping afterwards. It was a small group of students." ... "The Holy Spirit chose to just fall down and touch hearts. This is purely God moving and keeping people here and bringing more (who are) continuing to cross state lines and even across the country now." (2)
"We just had some people arrive from Finland, from the Netherlands, they have been coming from all over the country," said Asbury's Communications Director. (3)
There are reports that the revival has spread to Lee University in Tennessee, Cedarville University in Ohio, and at Samford University in Alabama. "Tonight, a large number of students gathered again to pray, read Scripture, testimonies, and to worship Jesus for about two hours! ...Keep praying for wisdom and a genuine movement of the Lord," said Cedarville Un. President Thomas White. "We don't know what to do next or what will happen next, but let's prepare our own hearts to be ready just in case God graciously moves in our country." (4)
"...I can testify that the Holy Spirit is at work in and among our student body," said Samford Un. President Beck Taylor. "What's happened isn't contrived, programmed, or scripted. Students and others see it as an opportunity for the Samford campus ...to extend the love and grace of Jesus to everyone." (5)
"I feel as though maybe we were the candle and now we are just passing that flame on to other churches and other schools." - Asbury University sophomore
(christianpost.com, 2/20/23(1)(3); faithwire.com, 2/14/23(2); 1.cbn.com, 2/17/23(4)(5); ljr.com, 2/22/23; faithwire.com, 2/14/23)
Hope that the Asbury Revival Will Grow to the Next Great Awakening - and bring attention to the importance of religious freedom worldwide.
"Earlier this week, a lawsuit was filed against the Nation Archives and Records Administration (NARA) stating that the morning of January 20, 2023, the day of the March for Life, several visitors to our museum in Washington, D.C., were told by NARA security officers 'to remove or cover their attire because of their pro-life messages," the National Archives statement read. "As the home to the original Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which enshrine the rights of free speech and religion, we sincerely apologize for this occurrence." (1) This lawsuit follows the suit against the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum where March for Life students were expelled for refusing to remove their hats that simply said, "Rosary PRO-LIFE."
20 States Demand FBI Cease Targeting Catholics
The attorneys general of 20 states have demanded the FBI produce "all materials" related to its recently leaked 'anti-Catholic' memo that targets so-called "Radical Traditionalist Catholics" (RTC) as "un-American." (2) These Catholics believe the Catechism of the Catholic Church’s teachings about the sanctity of life from conception to natural death, marriage between one man and one woman, the biological reality of male and female, and they may attend the Latin Mass.
In the leaked memo, the FBI cites various reports from the Southern Poverty Law Center that has a history of targeting Christians and conservative groups while receiving millions of dollars from far-left organizations and promoting the LGBT agenda.
The 20 attorneys general demanded the FBI "immediately and unequivocally order agency personnel not to target Americans based on their religious beliefs." They "request a full explanation of the document's origins, documents related to its implementation," and "whether the FBI has begun infiltrating houses of worship in conflict with the FBI's internal guidelines." (3)
While the FBI has retracted the document following intense backlash over its contents, Attorney General Miyares of Virginia has emphasized they remain unpersuaded by the FBI's "damage-control efforts."
Definition of persecution: hostility and ill-treatment, especially on the basis of ethnicity, religion, or political beliefs.
(news.yahoo.com, 2/10/23(1); faith wire.com, 2/9/23; aclu.org, 2/10/23; lifesite news.com, 2/11/23(2); washingtontimes.com, 2/10/23(3); catholicleague.org, 2/9/23)
Another Violation of First Amendment Protections: More March for Life Students Expelled from a Public Building
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; -1st amendment
Catholic students were expelled from the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum on Jan. 20, 2023, for refusing to remove hats expressing their pro-life beliefs. "...they were accosted several times and told they would be forced to leave unless they removed their pro-life hats. The group all wore the same blue hat that simply said 'Rosary PRO-LIFE.' Other individuals in the museum were wearing hats of all kinds (of messages) without issue," said the American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ) "The museum staff mocked the students, called them expletives, and (said) the museum is a 'neutral zone' where they could not express such statements." (1) As they exited the building, the employee who forced them out rubbed his hands in glee.
This was clearly a violation of First Amendment protections of freedom of speech and freedom of religion, and not the first time that pro-life students experienced discrimination during the National March for Life. In 2019, a Covington Catholic HS student was libeled and vilified by the mainstream media, accused of an action he didn't commit, and was subsequently vindicated by cell-phone videos. The teenager sued, and press giants such as the Washington Post and CNN settled out of court.
FBI Retracts Its Plot to Surveil so-called "Traditionalist Catholics"
"Deeply committed Catholics are the last people the authorities should be concerned about," said Bishop Joseph Strickland in response to an FBI agent's, turned whistleblower, document that the agency planned to conduct surveillance on those they thought had "radical-traditionalist Catholic ideology." (2)
Bishop Strickland said that while it's true that "committed traditionalist Catholics will defend the unborn and others who are helpless," any "attacks of violent aggression are antithetical to what it means to be a radically committed traditional Catholic...Sadly, the experience of (pro-life) Mark Houck provides evidence that this type of surveillance is not beyond the realm of possibility." (3) Fortunately, on Jan. 30, Houck was acquitted of charges that could have sentenced him to eleven years in prison.
Following intense backlash, the FBI released a statement saying it is retracting their plan against Catholics.
"The Bible clearly says that faithfulness and persecution often go hand in hand."
-Billy Graham, Evangelist
(faithwire.com, 2/9/23(1); lifesitenews.com, 2/1/23; aclj.org, 2/9/23; washingtonexaminer.com, 2/9/23; lifesitenews.com, 2/8/23(2)(3); dailycaller.com, 2/9/23)
"Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.” -Isaac Asimov, Writer, Science Professor
"The vandalism we are seeing today is quickly rising to levels that haven't been seen since the late 1800's and early 1900's from organized groups such as the Know-Nothings and the Ku Klux Klan," said Brian Burch, president of Catholic Vote, in his recent report about hundreds of attacks against churches since May 2020. (1) "Since civil unrest began on May 28, 2020, following George Floyds death in Minnesota, there have been at least 278 attacks against Catholic churches in the U.S. including arson attacks which damaged or destroyed historic churches, spray-painting and graffiti of satanic messages, rocks and bricks thrown through windows, and statues destroyed, often with the heads cut off," Catholic Vote reported. (2) While the unrest over Floyd's death eventually subsided, attacks on Churches continued to rise.
"Americans appear increasingly comfortable lashing out against church buildings, pointing to a larger societal problem of marginalizing core Christian beliefs, including those that touch on hot-button political issues related to human dignity and sexuality," said a Family Research Council report released in December 2022. (3) This report found that church attacks spiked to 397 following the overturning of Roe v Wade that returned the abortion issue to the states.
Pro-life facilities have also faced a barrage of attacks since the Dobbs abortion decision leak at the Supreme Court last May 2022. At least 80 pregnancy resource center attacks have been reported but many attacks are unreported because these centers want to protect their clients. The pregnancy resource centers provide free medical and financial support to pregnant and new mothers. They have been spray-painted with pro-abortion and anarchist messages and symbols and several have been set on fire.
The FBI is offering rewards up to $25,000 for information related to these attacks. "Today's announcement reflects the FBI's commitment to vigorously pursue investigations into crimes against pregnancy resource centers, faith-based organizations, and reproductive health clinics across the country," said the FBI Director. (4)
"Social justice cannot be attained by violence. Violence kills what it intends to create.” -Pope John Paul II
"Saying that there are too many children is like saying there are too many flowers." -Mother Theresa of Calcutta
(catholicvote.org, 1/25/23(1)(2); msn.com, 1/23/23(3); washingtonexaminer.com, 1/19/23(4); catholicvote.org, 6/9/22; washingtontimes.com, 1/24/23)
"Without freedom of thought there can be no such thing as wisdom; and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech." -Benjamin Franklin
New licensing rules in Minnesota that require teachers to "affirm" students’ transgender identities will effectively ban religious Christians, Muslims, and Jews from teaching in public schools. MN state certified teachers will be required to "foster an environment that ensures student identities such as ... gender identity ...are...affirmed." (1) Other states are also looking for ways to implement these unconstitutional licensing rules.
"...teachers are going to be faced with hiding their beliefs or getting denied (a state teaching license)," said Doug Seaton of MN Upper Midwest Law Center. "Christians, Muslims, and Jews need not apply for MN teaching jobs." (2)
The new standard requires that a licensed teacher, "fosters an environment that ensures student identities such as sex and gender, gender identity, sexual orientation ... are historically and socially contextualized..." (3) Standard 6C requires that "The teacher understands the historical foundations of education in MN ...that have and continue to create inequitable opportunities, experiences, and outcomes for learners ... on the basis of ... gender, sexual orientation." (4)
"The (licensing board) has made it impossible for those practicing orthodox Christianity and Judaism, for example, to freely exercise their religion and simultaneously hold a teaching license. ... It compels potential licensees to speak the (licensing board’s) chosen beliefs as an established creed and live them out in order to have a job. It establishes (licensing board’s) view of human sexuality and gender as orthodoxy despite sincere opposition based on biological reality and traditional theistic beliefs," wrote attorney Doug Seaton to the law judge who approved nearly all the new standards in December. (5)
College teacher preparation programs will also have to comply with these new requirements. This sets up another constitutional conflict by requiring religious institutions to endorse behaviors and ideologies that conflict with their beliefs. When put into effect, these new rules will likely meet court challenges.
"When even one American - who has done nothing wrong - is forced by fear to shut his mind and close his mouth - then all Americans are in peril." -President Harry S. Truman
(ground.news, 1/12/23(1); thefederalist.com, 1/12/23(2)(4); olivetreeviews.org, 1/15/23; therightthing.com, 1/12/23(3)(5)
Banning Religious Americans from Teaching in Public Schools
February 5, 2023
Mall security guards at the Mall of America in Minnesota, ordered a man to remove his "Jesus Saves" T-shirt or leave the mall. A video of the incident that took place on Jan. 7, 2023, shows the guard telling Paul Shoro to remove his shirt because "Jesus is associated with religion and it's offending people." (1)
Mr. Shoro explained, "I didn't speak, I didn't say anything." The guard said, "Take your shirt off, and you can go to Macy's and do your shopping, or you can leave the mall. OK? Those are your only options right now." (2) The guard told Shoro that the shirt is treated as religious soliciting which isn't allowed at the privately owned mall. Fortunately, the mall later said that security subsequently allowed Shoro to remain in the mall while wearing the shirt.
The question is: why is this happening in America? Why would any American feel the need to shut down such a common declaration of faith as a message on a T-shirt? The U.S. Constitution does not prohibit religious messages on clothing because doing so would violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA), and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1994. These laws and statutes protect religious freedom as well as freedom of speech and expression including the right to wear T-shirts with religious messages and images, religious jewelry, etc.
Iowa Elementary School Misunderstanding of "Separation of Church and State"
An elementary school child in Iowa was told in the fall/winter of 2022 that because of "separation of Church and state" he could not hand out religious materials to his classmates, share his faith with them, or bring religious books or items to school. His mother contacted the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) for help. It was clear to ACLJ attorneys that the school officials did not understand the law regarding the religious freedom of students and sent a legal letter detailing the legal rights of students. Upon receiving this information, the school reversed its objections, and the student has been allowed to continue his non-disruptive religious activities without any issues. (3)
This fortunate child has a parent who took action to defend her son's religious freedom rights and now fortunate school officials are aware of the rights of students and teachers to practice their faith.
"It's the duty of everyone to defend religious freedom and promote it for all people."- Pope Francis
(washingtontimes.com, 1/17/23(1); blaze media.com, 1/18/23(2); aclj.org; dailysignal.com, 1/17/23; repository.uchastings.edu, 2018; aclj.org,12/13/22(3)
Attempts to Suppress Any Religious Expression Continue
January 29, 2023
"Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong."-1 Corinthians 16:13
The American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ) will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to consider a long legal battle concerning a public prayer vigil in Ocala, Florida. The litigation has been in the court system for 8 years and in July, 2022, a decision from the Eleventh Circuit opened the way to a Supreme Court appeal where this case has the potential to achieve legal landmark status.
The circumstances of the case are as follows: In 2014, the City of Ocala experienced a crime spree causing serious injury to several children. The police knew the identity of the shooters but were unable to persuade frightened witnesses to testify. Following community policing standards, Police Chief Graham met with local leaders who suggested the police department reach out to the faith-based community for help persuading witnesses to come forward. These leaders decided to hold a community prayer vigil, planned and organized by private citizens.
Volunteer chaplains led the vigil that was widely supported and well attended. At the request of the organizers, Chief Graham posted a letter encouraging unity and prayer and attendance at the vigil. Atheists, offended by the idea of a prayer vigil, demanded city officials cancel the event and later sued the City for allegedly promoting the vigil.
Now, 8 years later, following reversals at the lower courts, this case will be presented to the Supreme Court. The ACLJ petition, on behalf of the City of Ocala, will be the first to raise the issue of whether "offended observer" standing is sufficient to bring a case. Recently, commenting on the decision in another case, Justice Gorsuch and Justice Thomas said that the lower courts "invented observer standing for Establishment Clause cases in the 1970s in response to this Court's decision" in a similar lawsuit that has recently been overturned.(1) Thus, the ACLJ is hopeful that the Supreme Court will take up this important case that will be a major moment for prayer and religious liberty.
"The Secret to Happiness is Freedom; The Secret to Freedom is Courage."-Thucydides, Greek Philosopher
(aclu.org, 8/24/22; aclj.org, 12/16/22(1); TFP.org, 7/25/22)
Defending Freedom to Pray in Public
Americans Who Are Not Afraid to Show Their Faith in Public
"Human rights, of course, must include religious freedom..." -Pope Benedict XVI
The observation of Religious Freedom Day every year on Jan. 16 may be the most important, and most overlooked, American observance on the calendar. It stands with such critical historical moments in U.S. history as the signing of the Mayflower Compact, the Declaration of Independence, and the ratification of the First Amendment to the Constitution.
On January 16, 1786, the Virginia Assembly passed the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom, written by Thomas Jefferson, that became the model for the First Amendment's religion freedom clauses that guarantee no creation of a state religion and the free practice of religion according to one's conscience: "all men shall be free to profess, and...maintain their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no way diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities." (1)
"Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof… - First Amendment: Constitution of the United States
Each year, since 1993, the President issues a proclamation designating January 16th as Religious Freedom Day in commemoration of the many faiths that make up our country, in recognition of religious freedom as the essential foundation for all our liberties and as a call for Americans to go forth to live out their faith and exercise their religious liberty.
"Now, therefore, I, George Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim January 16, 1993, as Religious Freedom Day. I urge all Americans to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities in their homes, schools, and places of worship as an expression of our gratitude for the blessings of liberty and as a sign of our resolve to protect and preserve them."
(Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom(1); firstliberty.org; daily citizen.com, 1/16/19)
A pro-life volunteer, Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, was approached by police in Birmingham, England on Dec. 6, 2022 and asked, "Are you praying?" as she silently stood near a closed abortion clinic. She was subsequently arrested when she admitted she "might" be praying inside her head. She was charged with four counts of breaking a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO), designed to stop antisocial behavior, because police received complaints from an onlooker who suspected she was praying even though she was not holding a sign or making any visible form of protest. She had been spotted near the clinic three other times and when asked about these occasions, she explained that she may have been praying but she also may have been thinking about other things. Nevertheless, she endured this ordeal even though her 'behavior' was quiet and peaceful.
"It's abhorrently wrong that I was searched, arrested, interrogated by police and charged simply for praying in the privacy of my own mind. Censorship zones purport to ban harassment, which is already illegal. Nobody should ever be subject to harassment. But what I did was the furthest thing from harmful - I was exercising my freedom of thought, my freedom of religion, inside the privacy of my own mind. Nobody should be criminalized for thinking and for praying, in a public space in the UK," Isabel told Alliance Defending Freedom UK.(1)
George Washington University Law Professor, Jonathan Turley, wrote, “... free speech has been in free fall in the UK for years. It is a cautionary tale for those in the United States, which is facing arguably the largest anti-free speech movement in its history. ... It is easy for Americans to wave off such European prosecutions by pointing to our First Amendment. However, there is a growing movement in the U.S. to replicate such European laws." (2)
"The UK is an example of the slippery slope of speech criminalization that inevitably took them to 'thought crimes,' even criminal prayers. These cases should be a wake up for all who value free speech (and freedom of religion). If such prosecutions stands, free speech literally does not have a prayer in the Western world." (3)
"If the freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to slaughter." - George Washington
(aleteia.org, 12/24/22(1); jonathanturley.org, 12/24/22(2)(3); gbnews.uk, 12/23/22; nypost.com, 12/22/22; birminghammail.co.uk, 12/20/22; cna.com, 12/21/22)
"Eucharistic Revival: My Flesh for the Life of the World”
This 3-year grassroots revival was proposed by the Bishops of the United States (USCCB) to revive devotion and belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Launched on June 19, 2022, the Feast of Corpus Christi, the theme for the current year through June 2023, is the “Year for Diocesan Renewal”, offering events to promote and inspire understanding of the Eucharist.
"According to Pew Research Center, only 31% of Catholics even believe in the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist." (1) The Revival vision is to inspire Catholics who are healed, converted, formed, and unified through encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist to share this relationship "for the life of the world." (2)
Misnamed "Respect for Marriage Act” Rejects Meaning of Marriage and Jeopardizes Religious Freedom
The so-called "Respect for Marriage Act," signed into law on Dec.13, 2022, overturns the 1996 Clinton era "Defense of Marriage Act" that said marriage is between one man and one woman. The legislation also codifies same-sex marriage by reinforcing the 2015 Supreme Court ruling making same-sex marriage legal. The Catholic Church is one of several Christian denominations and religions (Orthodox Jewish, Muslim, etc.) that only recognize marriage as a union of one man and one woman. The authors of the newly signed bill claim that it provides protections for religious freedom, but most faith leaders dispute this claim.
The USCCB criticized the Respect for Marriage Act as being contrary to the common good. "The bill fails to include clear, comprehensive, and affirmative conscience protections for religious organizations and individuals who uphold the sanctity of traditional marriage that are needed," said Bishop Robert Barron, chairman of the USCCB committee on laity, marriage, family life and youth. (3) This concern is not unfounded since there have been dozens of instances of government persecution of religious practice in America over the past few years.
"In recent years, the list of parties with religious objections to same-sex marriage who have lost their court battles include Catholic adoption agencies, Jewish universities, and Christian wedding vendors," wrote The Washington Stand. (4) This bill would only multiply the occasions whereby people and organizations of faith could be discriminated against or sued.
"Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist on the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm." -Ephesians 6:13
(nationaleucharisticrevival.com (1)(2); ncregister.com, 12/13/22(3); washingtonstand.com, 11/28/22(4)
"Christmas is built upon a beautiful and intentional paradox; that the birth of the homeless should be celebrated in every home." -G.K. Chesterton
Christmas Season, which celebrates the birth of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, has been fast changing from a religious holy day to a secular holiday. One effort to combat this goal of a secular, indifferent and often atheist society is from the American Nativity Scene project and their mission to give away free, large nativity scenes for public display on public property with a particular aim to put nativities in front of all 50 State Capitol buildings. This Christmas, 40 State Capitols have now erected Nativity Scenes and are proof that the religious and many non-religious alike, value the true reason and joy of the season that celebrates the humble birth of the Christ Child - the King of Kings. In fact, a 2022 poll by the Washington Times "showed an overwhelming majority of 72% of the citizens agreed that religious scenes displayed on public property by private individuals should be allowed as our constitution allows." (1)
The Thomas More Society and the American Nativity Scene are helping groups of private citizens across the nation to display Biblical manger scenes on government property. "Many erroneously assume that government entities are prohibited from allowing a religious display," said Thomas Olp, Senior Counsel at the Thomas More Society. "The law is clear: Government entities may erect and maintain celebrations of the Christmas holiday, including nativity scenes, as long as a creche's sole purpose is not to promote its religious content, and it is placed in context with other symbols of the season ... We pray that the nativity scenes of the Christmas season will help to foster a sense of unity and peace on earth." (2)
This year Juneau, Alaska’s State Capitol, will display a Nativity scene for the first time. "The true joy of Christmas is a newborn baby lying in a manger and wrapped in swaddling clothes," said Andrew Klausner, coordinator of the Juneau State Capitol Nativity. (3) With this addition of Alaska, now 40 state capitols have nativities. The states that have, as of yet, not erected a nativity scene from the American Nativity Scene project are Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, and Virginia. (4)
"Awake mankind! For your sake God has become man." St. Augustine
(americannativityscene.com, (1)(4); thomasmoresociety.org, 12/15/21(2); thomasmoresociety.org, 12/1/22(3); returntoorder.org; juneauempire.com, 12/1/22; drik.news, 12/1/22)
Keeping Christ in Christmas at 40 State Capitol Buildings
December 18, 2022
“Mankind is a great, an immense family… This is proved by what we feel in our hearts at Christmas.”
- Pope John Paul XXIII
December holidays are always a challenge and educators often receive confusing advice about how to treat religious holidays. The last decades of increased diversity in our schools have challenged public schools to deal creatively and sensitively with student populations representing many faiths and beliefs, secular and religious. Happily, research reveals that celebrating Christmas and other holidays in the classroom brings children and teachers closer together, builds community links, and improves pupils' learning. (1)
A good way to deal with the December Dilemma is to begin the season with a focus on an often ignored holiday: Bill of Rights Day, December 15th. It was established to commemorate the adoption of the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution on December 15. 1791. Beginning the season with activities around the Bill of Rights offers an opportunity for students to reflect on the civic values of rights, responsibility, and respect that all Americans share as citizens, no matter their religious or secular beliefs.
Senior fellow at the Freedom Forum, Charles Haynes, recommends that before planning holiday activities in public schools, choral directors, teachers, and administrators should ask themselves three simple questions:
"1. Do we have a clear educational purpose? Under the First Amendment, learning about religious holidays is an appropriate educational goal - devotionally celebrating is not.
2. Will any student or parent be made to feel like an outsider by the concert, lesson or activity? Most parents and students are fine with learning about religious traditions - as long as the approach is academic, not devotional.
3. Is our overall curriculum balanced and fair? December shouldn't be the only time sacred music is in the curriculum. Students should learn about religious music from various world traditions at other times in the school year." (2)
Prepare, celebrate and evangelize the coming of our Savior
Let your December explode with joy as you anticipate the Birth of the Christ Child with a manger on your lawn, Christmas lights on your bushes, a glowing tree in your window, a magnet on your car, a lapel pin on your coat, a donation to the local soup kitchen, a gift under your church’s Giving Tree and an enthusiastic “Merry Christmas” greeting for all.
(ca3rsproject.org, 12/22(2) tes.com, 12/20/19(1); continental press.com,11/10/20)
The December Dilemma 2022: Celebrating Religious Holidays in Public Schools
December 11, 2022
"Conscience is the most sacred of all property." -James Madison, 1792
"It is deeply concerning that the U.S. Senate has voted to proceed toward passage of the "Respect for Marriage Act," said Cardinal Timothy Dolan, USCCB Chairman for Religious Liberty. "The Catholic Church will always uphold the unique meaning of marriage as a lifelong, exclusive union of one man and one woman. ... we are joined by millions of ...reasonable and sincere Americans - both religious and secular - who share this time-honored understanding of the truth and beauty of marriage." ..."but the provisions of the Act that relate to religious liberty are insufficient." (1)
The Respect for Marriage Act is a bill that seeks to reinforce the already legalized same-sex marriage rights. In 2015 the Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell vs Hodges, that the 14th Amendment requires states to recognize and license same-sex marriages. However, after the Dobbs decision which ruled that federal abortion rights are unconstitutional and the issue of abortion must be decided within each state, many supporters of same-sex marriage want to reinforce the 2015 decision in case the court ever overrules the Obergefell decision.
Unfortunately, religious freedom "protections" in this new version of the “Respect for Marriage Act” are entirely inadequate and also threaten the institution of marriage in multiple ways. (2)
· It further embeds a false definition of marriage in the American legal fabric.
· It jeopardizes the tax-exempt status of nonprofits that exercise their belief that marriage is a union of one man and one woman.
· It endangers faith-based social-service organizations by threatening litigation and liability risk if they follow their views on marriage when working with the government.
· It could make religious freedom and free speech cases harder to win.
· It opens the door to federal recognition of polygamous relationships.
"Obergefell created countless religious liberty conflicts, but this Act offers only limited protections. Those protections fail to resolve the main problem with the Act: in any context in which conflicts between religious beliefs and same-sex marriage arise, the Act will be used as evidence that religious believers must surrender to the state's interest in recognizing same-sex civil marriages. Wedding cake bakers, faith-based adoption and foster care providers, religious employers seeking to maintain their faith identity, faith-based housing agencies - are all at greater risk of discrimination under this legislation," said Cardinal Dolan in his statement. (3)
“It is the duty of everyone to defend religious freedom and promote it for all people.” -Pope Francis
(usccb.org, 11/17/22(1)(3); adflegal.org, 11/3/22(2); thewashingtonstand.com, 11/17/22; ncregister.com, 10/7/22; deseret.com, 11/21/22; congress.gov, 7/17/22; the week.com, 11/18/22; law.com, 11/4/22)
Deceptively Named “Respect for Marriage Act” Denies
Religious Freedoms and Causes Deep Concern Among Bishops
December 4, 2022
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. - George Santayana
Few Americans realize that New England's first form of government was collectivism (socialism) and practiced what Karl Marx would promote two centuries later as: "each produced according to his ability, and each received according to his need." The Pilgrims, a pious and decent people, discovered that even the best men cannot thrive under an incentive-crushing system. Within two years of the First Thanksgiving, the colonists had reaped shortages and starvation.
Writing in the History of Plymouth Plantation, Gov. William Bradford said that with the survival of the colony at stake, they contemplated upon "how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop than they had done, that they might not still thus languish in misery." They decided to abandon the collectivist model of government in favor of a freer model. So, they "assigned to each family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number, for that end ..."
A happy Gov. Bradford wrote, "This had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been ... The women now went willingly into the field and took their little ones with them to set corn; which before would allege weakness and inability; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression."
Thus, the Pilgrims now wished to work because they got to keep, and then trade, the benefits of their labor. They discovered that freedom is a much greater stimulus than force.
"Instead of famine, now God gave them plenty," wrote Gov. Bradford, "and the face of things was changed to the rejoicing of the hearts of many, for which they blessed God ... Any general want or famine hath not been amongst them since to this day."
(libertyunderfire.org; townhall.com; historyofmassachusettes.org; History of Plymouth Plantation)
"Posterity - you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it." - John Quincy Adams
Pilgrims, Thanksgiving, and a Failed Experiment: Part 2
November 27, 2022
A Quick History: The Mayflower set sail from England on Sept. 6, 1620, and arrived at Cape Cod on Nov. 11, 1620. The ship moved on to Plymouth with its 102 Pilgrims and on Nov. 21, 1620, they drafted and signed the Mayflower Compact, a legal document, "in the presence of God, and of one another, (to) covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic."
Weakened from the 65-day voyage and unprepared for the harsh winter, by spring, half had died from starvation and disease. Fortunately, with the help of local Native Americans (Indians), the 53 remaining Pilgrims learned to plant and harvested an abundant crop by fall. Thus, the First Thanksgiving was to celebrate a successful harvest and give thanks to God.
The Experiment: The Pilgrims decided that their new community would create a collectivist model of governance where all labor was communal, with men raising crops for all families, not just their own, and women engaged in domestic chores for their neighbors. Few did more than the minimum because the incentive to excel was destroyed. Within two years, the results were shortages and starvation.
The Pilgrims’ Governor, William Bradford, described the folly of collectivism, "For this community was found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For the young men, that were most able and fit for labour and service, did repine (complain) that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men's wives and children without any recompense (payment).... And for men's wives to be commanded to do service for other men, as dressing their meat, washing their clothes, etc., they deemed it a kind of slavery, neither could many husbands brook (tolerate) it."
Gov. Bradford also spoke about another problem from this created famine… thievery. "much was stolen both by night and day..."
(libertyunderfire.org; townhall.com; historyofmassachusetts.org; mayflowerhistory.com)
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
George Santayana, philosopher, poet, cultural critic
Pilgrims, Thanksgiving, and a Failed Experiment: Part 1
November 20, 2022
“The new rule in development has the potential for adverse effects on Catholic employers, but could prove devastating to Catholic health-care providers, including Catholic hospitals that care for one in six hospital patients in the United States.” - Peter Jesserer Smith; National Catholic Register, Nov. 17, 2021
"The same excellent care will be provided in a Catholic hospital to all patients, including patients who identify as transgender, whether it be for a broken bone or for cancer," said four committee chairs of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. "But we cannot do what our faith forbids. We object to harmful procedures, not to patients." (1)
The recently published Health and Human Services (HHS) Section 1557 Super Rule would deny religious freedom since it allows no exceptions for religious or conscience beliefs or for certain insurance plans. The proposal is part of the HHS department's attempt to clarify a section of the 2010 Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), to ensure that all medical practitioners and institutions be willing and able to provide services like transgender surgeries, "gender affirming care," puberty blockers for children as young as 12 years old, abortions, assisted suicide and more. (2)
"Sadly, (these) proposed regulations threaten our ability to carry out our healing ministries, and others' to practice medicine. They mandate health care workers to perform life-altering surgeries to remove perfectly healthy body parts," said Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York and three other archbishops. "Assurances that HHS will honor religious freedom laws offer little comfort when HHS is actively fighting court rulings that declared HHS violated religious freedom laws the last time they tried to impose such a mandate. This is a violation of religious freedom and bad medicine." (3)
The U.S. Bishops stress that Catholic health care ministries serve everyone, no matter what their race, sex, belief system, or any other characteristic. The 2,400-member Catholic Medical Association called the proposed rule "coercive" and a "clear violation of First Amendment protections." (4)
"Every health care facility, especially those of Christian inspiration, should be a place where care for the person is practiced and where it can be said: 'Here you do not see only doctors and patients, but people who welcome and help each other: here you can experience the therapy of human dignity."
- Pope Francis
(aleteia.org, 7/28/22(1)(3)(4); catholicbenefitsassociation.org (2); ncregister.com, 10/25/22; usccb.org; America magazine.org,9/26/22)
Religious Liberty and Catholic Health Services at Risk
If Latest HHS Super Rule is Mandated
November 13, 2022
A California judge has ruled in favor of a Christian cake designer in the latest court decision regarding the conflict between religious freedom and same-sex marriage.(1) This is the latest in a series of court decisions over several years regarding wedding vendors - such as cake designers, florists, photographers and artists - who refuse to use their creative talents for same-sex ceremonies because of their biblically based belief that marriage is only between a man and a woman.
The evidence showed that the baker, Cathy Miller, both employs and serves LGBT people but that she has a long-standing policy for refusing to bake cakes that violate her Christian beliefs. (2)
"The State asks this court to compel Miller to use her talents to design and create a cake she has not yet conceived with the knowledge that her work will be displayed in a celebration of a marital union her religion forbids," wrote the Superior Court Judge. "For this court to force such compliance would do violence to the essentials of Free Speech guaranteed under the First Amendment." (3)
Some Bad News for Religious Freedom
A Colorado Christian baker, Jack Phillips, who won a partial victory of 7-2 at the US Supreme Court in 2018 when he declined to create a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, is now on trial for refusing to design a transgender birthday cake for a woman who requested a specialized cake in honor of her gender transition. Phillips’ attorney from Alliance Defending Freedom explained that forcing him to create a message contrary to his religious beliefs violates his right to free speech. Phillips also objects to making cakes with other messages he opposes, including Halloween items. (4)
"It's one thing to be sued repeatedly; it's another to watch your family suffer harassment and face death threats, be forced to lay off longtime employees, and lose a substantial part of your business," reads a statement from Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). (5) "No American should be bullied or banished from the marketplace simply for living and working consistently with their faith," ADF stated. "Opponents of religious freedom want to strip away our freedom to live and work consistently with our deeply held beliefs.... Praise God that Jack refused to give up his freedom without a fight. He knows it's not just his own religious freedom on the line - it's yours too." (6)
(christianitytoday.com,10/25/22(1)(2); ncregister.com,10/26/22(3); deseret.com,10/24/22; nytimes.com,10/15/22; christianco.com,10/11/22(4)(5); 1cbn.com,10/7/22(6)
Rosary for America - Elections 2022 - Please Pray with Us
Let us pray together to implore God's blessing on our Nation as we choose our leaders. Led by Catholics for Freedom of Religion on Sunday, Nov. 6, rosaries will be prayed on the hour from noon through 5 pm.
To add your presence to this important petition of prayer, call 681-999-0162; Access Code 801851#
"Civic engagement is part of the task of discipleship. It is part of the vocation of all God's faithful who are called by Jesus to be 'salt of the earth' and the 'light of the world." - Bishop Andrew Cozzens
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN A MINUTE
Some Good News for Religious Freedom
"As a Catholic bishop and Roman Catholic cardinal, I condemn these actions against non-armed families, against children; it's threatening for children, terrorizing them. There is no reason and no justification for this brutal action against these peaceful families,"(1) said German Cardinal Gerhard Muller when he visited the home of Mark Houck who was arrested on Sept. 23, 2022, by several armed and unexpected FBI agents in the early morning hours and charged with violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act. In 2021, Houck had protected his 12-year-old son from an aggressive male escort at an abortion facility in PA where he regularly prays the Rosary, hands out literature and occasionally does "sidewalk counseling." (2)
"Persecution of the good people is always a sign of the beginning of dictatorship and tyranny," said Cardinal Muller. "But the United States has always had the leadership for democracy, and democracy doesn't work when there is no respect for basic rights ... We are citizens of the states and not serfs of some ideological leaders." (3)
Another Pro-Life Parent Arrested by FBI
"It was all very shocking. No one can believe the federal government would do something like this, with two cars and four armed FBI agents," said Paul Vaughn, father of 11 children in TN, after the FBI agents came to his home at 7:00am on Oct 5, 2022, pounding on the front door so loud that it reportedly made the whole house shake. (4)(5)
"Paul Vaughn's arrest in front of his wife and 7 of his children, including the 18-month-old child she was holding, followed by his indictment on federal charges, is yet another attempt on the part of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to frighten and intimidate Christians and committed life advocates," said Thomas More Society senior counsel, Stephen Crampton. "We believe the evidence will show that Paul did not violate the FACE Act, and we look forward to a chance to prove that in court." (6)
"We believe that authority was abused in this situation. Especially when contrasted with the utter lack of interest, let alone investigation and arrest, of those committing genuine acts of violence against churches and pregnancy resource centers," said Attorney Crampton. "It seems clear that the FBI is carrying out an agenda ... - to terrorize - Christians and the pro-life community, while excusing and even condoning those on the pro-abortion side engaged in much more serious and harmful acts." (7)
"Government exists not only to make rules, but to ensure justice. If a government fails to provide equal justice under the law, it must be replaced by one that does."
James Madison, Founding Father and 4th President
(ncregister.com, 10/12/22(1)(3); christianpost.com, 9/27/22((2); ncregister.com, 10/18/22(4)(6((7); lifenews.com, 10/7/22(5); washingtontimes.com,10/16/22; liveaction.org, 8/9/22)
Quoting Pope Francis on elections and the faithful’s civic duty to vote, Bp. Andrew H. Cozzens added “Civic engagement is part of the task of discipleship. It is part of the vocation of all God’s faithful who are called by Jesus to be the ‘salt of the earth’ and the ‘light of the world.” “This is not a duty that any of us can delegate.”
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN A MINUTE
Cardinal Muller Visits Pro-Life Father of 7 Arrested by FBI
"Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus, will be persecuted." -2 Timothy 3:12
According to a 2022 Pew Research Center report, over 75% of the world's population live in countries with high or very high governmental and/or societal restrictions on religious freedom. Throughout the Middle East, Church leaders - from Jerusalem to Iraq - are concerned that the Christian population is emigrating at alarming rates. The very birthplace of Christianity now faces the serious threat of losing its heritage because Christians are fleeing systematic violence in their homeland. (1)
In Southeast Asia and Africa, the countries of Myanmar and Nigeria are now seeing the most brutal persecution. "Myanmar authorities brutalized us," said a 30-year-old Muslim refugee. "They burned down our houses, raped our mothers and sisters, burned our children. We took shelter in Bangladesh to escape that brutality." (2) These killings by the Myanmar military led to over 700,00 Rohingya Muslims into overcrowded, disease-ridden camps.
Christians are the particular target of persecution in Nigeria. More Christians are killed for their faith in Nigeria than in the rest of the world combined. (3) "Nigeria is currently one of the scariest places to be a Christian," says an Open Door's analyst. "The country has witnessed an explosion of violence in recent months. Attacks are happening almost on a daily basis.... (This) is what is happening across West Africa - the agenda, and the process and model of persecution are being implemented elsewhere with impunity."(4)
"The United Nations estimates that over 82 million people are forcibly displaced worldwide, the highest number on record. Many are displaced due to conflicts, real or manufactured, over religion..." (5)
"Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account" -Matthew 5:11
(usccb.org, 2022(1)(5); humanrightswatch.org, 8/24/22(2); opendoorsuk.org, 5/10/22(3)(4); bbc.com, 5/24/22; anglican.ink, 9/16/22)
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN A MINUTE
Globally, Religious Freedom is Under Siege
“The Bible clearly says that faithfulness and persecution often go hand in hand.” -Evangelist Billy Graham
On Sept. 23, 2022, Catholic pro-life activist, Mark Houck, was arrested by a fully armed team of FBI agents at his home in PA in front of his wife and seven young children after the agents had pounded on the door in the early morning. "They said they were going to break in if he didn't open it. And then they had about 5 guns pointed at my husband, myself, and basically at my kids," said Mrs. Houck. (1)
Houck is accused of assaulting a male Planned Parenthood client escort outside a Philadelphia abortion clinic on Oct. 23, 2021, under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act. Houck regularly prays the Rosary, hands out literature, and does some "sidewalk counseling" outside the clinic. On this day, when "the escort began harassing Mark’s 12-year-old son, they walked down the street away from the building entrance. The escort followed them and when he continued yelling at the boy, getting within his personal space, Mark pushed him away," wrote a spokesperson. (2) The man fell down but was not seriously hurt, requiring only "a Band-Aid on his finger," said the spokesperson. (3) After local authorities declined to press charges, the escort pressed charges in Philadelphia municipal court, but the case was dismissed when the man repeatedly failed to show up for court dates.
If convicted, Houck could face 11 years in prison. "This case is being brought solely to intimidate people of faith and pro-life Americans," said Peter Breen, Thomas More Society senior counselor. "Mark Houck is innocent of these lawless charges and we intend to prove that in court." (4)
In the meantime, "Nobody responsible for the nearly 100 attacks, including firebombs and vandalism, on pro-life pregnancy centers has been charged by the Department of Justice (DOJ), wrote Greg Price of xStrategies. (5) These frequent attacks, many by pro-abortion group "Jane's Revenge”, were seemingly ignored after the Supreme Court decision in June on Roe v Wade. "This kind of overreaction for a minor infraction of the law is deeply troubling and it becomes even more troubling when paired with the under reaction by the DOJ when the pro-life side is targeted," wrote William Donohue, Catholic League president. (6)
Berkeley develops "Jewish-free Zones"
Nine student groups at U.C. Berkeley created "Jewish-free Zones" when they adopted a rule forbidding pro-Israel speakers at school events. The controversial bylaw, promulgated by a pro-Palestinian group on campus, says it aims to stop the spread of Zionist (pro-Israel) beliefs.
"It is troubling to broadly exclude a particular viewpoint from being expressed," said Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, who is Jewish. "This would mean that I could not be invited to speak because I support the existence of Israel, though I condemn many of their policies." (7)
(christianpost.com, 9/27/22(1)(2); catholicnewsagency.com, 9/27/22(3)(4)(6); 1cbn.com, 9/27/22(5); ncregister.com, 9/27/22; nypost.com, 9/29/22); nypost.com, 9/30/22(7); newsweek.com, 10/2/22
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN A MINUTE
Legalized Religious Persecution Comes to America
Christianity has made numerous contributions to the world, demonstrating that it turned the ancient world upside down and laid the foundation for positive changes in societies around the world. While some choose to list the faults of those who claim to be Christians but have done great harm, the actual good done in the name of Christ is astonishing.
"It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of the coming of Christianity. It brought with it, for one thing, an altogether new sense of human life. For the Greeks had shown man his mind; but the Christians showed him his soul. They taught that in the sight of God, all souls were equal, that every human life was sacrosanct and inviolate," wrote Yale historian R.R. Palmer. (1)
"The gospel not only converts the individual, but it changes society. On every mission field ... the missionaries carried a real social gospel. They established standards of hygiene and purity, promoted industry, elevated womanhood, restrained anti-social customs, abolished cannibalism and human sacrifice, organized famine relief, checked tribal wars, and changed the social structure of society," wrote Princeton Prof, Samuel Zwerner." (2)
Despite its humble origins, Christianity made more changes on earth for good than any other movement in history. "Education, social reform, medicine, democracy, the arts and modern science all owe much of their current existence to the teaching and ideas of the followers of Jesus Christ," wrote author David Robertson.(3)
* Following Emperor Constantine's conversion in A.D. 325, the churches built hospitals, hospices for travelers and houses for orphans, widows and the indigent. Historians note that charitable organizations are almost unknown in the ancient world until the time of Christ.
* Christians took real, practical steps helping the sick. The Emperor Charlemagne (800-814) decreed that every cathedral was required to have an attached hospital.
* Monasteries generated the copying of Scripture and other literature, especially from Greece, and their libraries provided the inspiration for the first universities in the 12th and 13th centuries.
* Christianity places a high value on truth and that truth about the existence of God can be discovered through observation of the natural world, thus having a positive impact on the development of the sciences.
* Christianity produced a middle class not known to mankind. It had always been the rich and the poor, the elite and the serfs or slaves. But with Christ, the carpenter, there was now honor in all work as a God-given calling, helping to produce a vibrant middle class.(4)
"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Freedom." -Corinthians 3:17
(dailycaller.com, 12/22/17(1)(4); christianunion.org, 5/3/16(2): chnistiantoday.com(3); byfaith.co.uk; discover.hubpages.com, 9/17/18; coldcasechristianity.com, 10/22/21(4)
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN A MINUTE
The Unique Contributions of Christianity to the World
"The Rosary is a magnificent and universal prayer for the needs of the Church, the nations, and the world.” -Pope John XXIII
"Our Christian faith is based, not on abstract speculation, but on historical events.... The Church's feasts are acts of thanksgiving for actions of God that have affected the course of human existence," wrote Fr. George Rutler, Pastor of Church of St. Michael in NYC. (1)
Anticipating the Muslim threat to take over the Mediterranean Sea and be in a position to conquer European Christian nations, in 1569, Pope Pius V urged the Christian faithful to pray the Rosary and seek the intercession of the Blessed Mother to defeat the Muslim aggression. (2) He "understood the tremendous importance of resisting the aggressive expansion of the Muslin Turks better than any of his contemporaries appear to have. He understood that the real battle being fought was spiritual; a clash of creeds was at hand, and the stakes were the very existence of the Christian West," wrote G.K. Chesterton in his poem "Lepanto." (3)
On October 7, we celebrate the improbable victory of Christian naval vessels over those of the Ottoman Muslims who outnumbered the Christians by two to one and whose ships were manned by 15,000 Christian galley slaves. The Battle of Lepanto on October 7, 1571, was the greatest naval engagement known until World War I. (4)
Pope Pius V interpreted the event as the movement of Providence in favor of the Church and European civilization. He asserted that the triumph properly belonged to the Mother of God and that her intercession had moved the "Holy League" of Christian vessels to victory. He added a new feast day to the Liturgical Calendar - October 7 would henceforth be the feast of Our Lady of Victory. His successor, Pope Gregory XIII would change the name of this day to the feast of the Holy Rosary. (5)
Let us pray: We pray for the intercession of Our Lady of Victory, Patroness of the United States. Blessed Mother Mary, we place our country in your care, remembering your intercession in the Battle of Lepanto. Teach us to imitate Jesus, as you did, and always to follow Him with your courage so that religious liberty, His gift to all mankind, may be preserved throughout the land. Amen
crisismagazine, 10/7/16(1)(4); simplycatholic.com(2); thecatholicdormitory.blogspot,10/7/13(3); madisoncatholicherald.org, 10/26/17(5); ghirelli.com, 1/1/19
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN A MINUTE
What Happens When Entire Nations Pray for Religious Freedom? It's Happened Before - It Can Happen Again
"Of all the dispositions and habits that lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports." George Washington, Farewell Address
"Like the Founders themselves, many Americans in the early years of the Republic truly regarded the Constitution as a miracle. ... (Americans) declared that the formation and adoption of our new system of federal government represented a political achievement unprecedented in human history. They looked upon it, moreover, as an event that was actually 'influenced, guided and governed' by the hand of God.' ... Our Founding Fathers believed the Constitution was destined to bless all mankind - and that it is 'incumbent on their successors' to preserve and defend our national charter of liberty." (1)
The Founding Fathers attached supreme importance to "the role of religion in the structure of the unique civilization which they hoped would emerge as the first free people in modern times." (2)
The True Meaning of "Separation of Church and State"
In recent weeks, some commentators in media and Congress have declared the phrase "Separation of Church and State" is found in the U.S. Constitution and therefore any reference to or mention of God is not permitted in America. This assertion is FALSE and has been identified as "Huge Lie #1" by Catholics for Freedom of Religion. (3) In fact, the phrase is not in the Constitution at all but is from a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote to the Danbury, Connecticut Baptist Church in support of individual freedom of conscience and religion and the open practice of faith without government interference as, Jefferson reiterated, was intended in the First Amendment.
Our Founders fought for a nation where, in the words of Pastor John Leland, all would be "equally free - Jews, Turks, Pagans, and Christians." (4) They knew from history that an attack on anyone's religious liberty would be destructive to everyone's religious liberty because where government, through power, can dictate, there is no liberty.
(The 5,000 Year Leap, W. Cleon Slousen,(1) (2, pg.76); "It's OK for Students to Pray" pamphlet from Catholics For Freedom of Religion(3); ciis.edu; KrisAnne Hall. 6/26/13(4)
"The strength of the Constitution lies entirely in the determination of each citizen to defend it." - Albert Einstein
"The Constitutional freedom of religion is the most inalienable and sacred of all human rights." Thomas Jefferson, Founding Father
On September 17, 1787, The Continental Congress approved, and 39 men signed, the proposed Constitution for the United States of America then sent it to the states to be ratified. This document created the federal government, established its only legitimate powers and the boundaries within which power could be exercised.
"We the people of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." - Preamble of the Constitution of the United States
All public schools that receive federal funding are required to hold Constitution Day events (see Public Law 108-447) during the week of Sept. 17-23 each year. Is your school following the law and celebrating freedom with age or grade appropriate activities so that students can learn about their inalienable rights and freedoms protected by the Constitution and Bill of Rights?
Our government exists to serve its citizens, not to empower itself. To prevent the abuses of power they felt under the British monarchy, the Founding Fathers framed the Constitution carefully, distributing power over 3 branches of government, outlining its powers, limitations on those powers, and the rights of citizens. "Powers not assigned to one of the three branches are left to the individual states." In this way, the Constitution’s framers wisely separated and balanced government powers to safeguard the interests of majority rule and minority rights of liberty and equality.
(dar.org; constitutioneel.live; thomastalks.org, 9/17/21; KrisAnneHall, 6/26/13; ciis.edu; nationalday.com)
"No power over the Freedom of Religion (is) delegated to the United States by the Constitution." James Madison, Founding Father
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN A MINUTE
Happy Constitution Week! September 17-23, 2022
Twenty-one years ago today, when terrorists destroyed the twin towers of the iconic World Trade Center, they attacked not only New York City, but the idea of America itself as founded on the principles of Freedom, Faith, Family, Life, Limited-government, Law and Authentic Goodness. (FLAG). Thousands died that day, not as combatants but as Americans, living the liberties of our Republic under a Constitution based on rights from our Creator. These Americans lived, worked and visited this city where the rule of law and goodwill toward others prevailed in spite of human imperfections. Hundreds of them chose as their life’s work to rush toward danger when help was needed. On Sept.11, they perished in harm’s way.
We pray for them in grateful remembrance. We pray for comfort for their loved ones as a nation still grieving the loss of each one of them. Let our lives reflect respect and appreciation for the liberties they had no chance to defend that day.
If the liberties they lived are to prevail, our children and grandchildren must be taught the bedrock of our liberties is inalienable rights from our Creator. The natural rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness guided our founders in their construction of a Constitution written for “ages and millions yet unborn” …a Constitution not bounded by culture or by technology but bounded by the immutable nature of man and his reliance on God.
Those Americans who died on Sept. 11,2001 lived in the freedom to follow their faith or to choose no faith. They were not forced to behave or worship according to the dictates of any government. They were not subject to an all-powerful culture or government selecting winners and losers, rich and poor, respected and vilified. We honor them by living those freedoms and insuring them for their loved ones
As we remember the joy of their lives and the anguish of their loss, we pray for the repose of their souls in the comforting arms of the Savior of us all. May they rest in peace and may we protect and preserve the liberties for which they were so grievously attacked.
"Hold on, my friends, to the Constitution and to the Republic for which it stands. Miracles do not cluster and what has happened once in 6,000 years may not happen again. Hold on to the Constitution, for if the American Constitution should fall, there will be anarchy throughout the world." -Daniel Webster, Lawyer and Statesman
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN A MINUTE
Today We Mourn and Honor All Who Perished on 9/11/2001
"Telling lies about others is as harmful as hitting them with an ax, wounding them with a sword or shooting them with a sharp arrow." -Proverbs 25:18
False Claims that "In God We Trust" is a Christian Nationalist Project:
"The national motto, In God We Trust, asserts our collective trust in a sovereign God," said a Texas State Senator after schools started to receive donated posters of the motto that they will be required to display in accordance with a new state law.(1) Senate Bill 797 requires schools to display the posters in a "conspicuous place" as long as they are "donated" or "purchased by private donations" which has resulted in signs being displayed across the state.(2) Those opposed are arguing the law imposes religion on students. "Alone, (the posters) are a basic violation of the separation of church and state. But in the broader context, it's hard not to see them as part of the larger Christian nationalist project," said Sophie Ellman-Golan of JFREJ. (3) However, no group has yet spoken out against the national motto, In God We Trust, being printed on every dollar bill and coin. Nor has any group acknowledged that the national motto does not specify a Christian or Jewish or Muslim or any other denomination God. Since a Christian nationalist project does not exist, many see this objection to the posters as an attack on Christianity itself.
False Claims the Catholic Rosary Prayers are "An Extremist Symbol":
A writer for the widely read The Atlantic magazine has recently gained much attention with his claim, "Just as the AR-15 rifle has become a sacred object for Christian nationalists in general, the rosary acquired a militaristic meaning for radical-traditional Catholics. On this extremist fringe, rosary beads have been woven into a conspiratorial politics and absolutist gun culture. These armed radical traditionalists have taken up a spiritual notion that the rosary can be a weapon in the fight against evil and turned it into something dangerously literal." (4) "It looks to me like the guy who is politicizing the Rosary and treating it as a weapon in the culture war is ...(writer) Daniel Panneton," said Professor Robert George, Princeton Un. and former chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. "... it's hard to miss the classic anti-Catholic tropes in the piece..." (5) "The politically elite core in media ... mean to topple every natural and supernatural sign (of Western civilization)," said Professor Chad Pecknold of Catholic University of America. (6) "The article is a long-running stream of inaccuracies, logical fallacies and distortions," said Dominican Fr. Pius Pietrzyk. "The notion of 'spiritual combat' has been with the church from time immemorial. ... In no way does the notion of Rosary as 'combat' imply physical violence." (7)
(cnn.com, 8/21/22(1); foxnews.com, 8/20/22(2); axios.com, 8/21/22(3); theatlantic.com, 8/14/22(4);
ncregister.com, 8/16/22(5)(6)(7); deseret.com, 8/16/22
"Prayer is the best weapon we possess, the key that opens the heart of God."- Saint Padre Pio
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN A MINUTE
New Attempts to Cancel God, Religious Freedom, and Prayer in America
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." -1st Amendment of U.S. Constitution
New York - New York Police Department Officer Marjel Kola, is suing the department after they denied him a religious exemption and fired him on June 17, 2022. Kola is a native of Albania, a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and has been a transit cop for over 4 years. He received the "Cop of the Month" award in June 2021.
When the Covid vaccine became mandatory, Kola applied for a religious exemption and was immediately denied. "I believe in God and put the trust in God. Why should I put something in my body that I don't trust?" he said. (1) He appealed and submitted a letter from his pastor stating that Kola has been an elder of the church since 2017 and follows its teachings. Still, he was terminated in June.
Air Force - Air Force officials were ordered on July 27, 2022, not to discipline airmen who are seeking religious exemptions to the military's Covid vaccine mandate. U.S. District Judge Matthew McFarland asked the military to make its case as to why he shouldn't enter a preliminary injunction, which is a longer-lasting measure. "Defendants fail to raise any persuasive arguments," Judge McFarland said. The small number of religious exemptions granted is "farcical". The Air Force "has effectively stacked the deck against service members seeking religious exemptions." (2)
Chicago - The "first class wide lawsuit for health care workers over a Covid shot mandate" in the United States was settled for over $10.3 million on July 29, 2022, Liberty Council reported.(3) The lawsuit was against NorthShore University Health System, located in the suburbs of Chicago, on behalf of current and former workers who objected to its Covid shot mandate on religious grounds. They refused the shot due to its association with aborted fetal cells, according to Liberty Counsel. 523 workers had requested and were denied a religious exemption or accommodation. NorthShore had approved the request from one person.
(theepochtimes.com, 8/8/22(1); therayfield.com, 8/8/22; truthpress.com, 7/29/22(2); younews.com, 7/28/22; legitgov.org, 7/30/22; ncregister.com, 7/31/22(3); chicagotribune.com, 8/2/22)
"The framers of our Constitution meant we were to have freedom of religion, not freedom from religion." - Evangelist Billy Graham
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN A MINUTE
In the News: Religious Exemptions to Covid-19 Vax Still Being Denied
"Freedom of conscience is the core of all freedom." -Pope Benedict XVI
A rewriting of the Title IX Dept. of Education rules puts at risk the safety, privacy, and equality of girls and woman at schools that are federally funded. This recently proposed regulation "removes protections for religious institutions that adhere to a traditional belief on sexuality, gender, and marriage by eliminating previous protections that were reaffirmed in 2020." (1)
In 2010, when that administration expanded the definition of "sexual discrimination" in Title IX regulations to include alternative sexual identities, many religious schools sought assurances they wouldn't be forced - in violation of their sincerely held religious tenets and teachings - to open single-sex dorms to members of the opposite sex, to open bathrooms and locker rooms to individuals whose subjective self-gender identity runs counter to their biology, or to hire openly married same-sex couples. (2)
The long-standing religious exemption, guaranteed in 2010, was reaffirmed in the 2020 Title IX regulation. "Yet even though Title IX's religious exemption is firmly grounded in statutes, regulations, and judicial decisions, the recent 2022 draft Title IX regulation removes the religious protections without providing any justification for the proposed change. (3)
(fedsoc.org, 7/22/22; ed.gov/news, 6/23/22; heritage.org, 7/18/22(1)(2)(3); theconversation.com, 6/22/22)
"There is no question that we are living in the most troubled times. Fundamental truths about human life, about marriage and the family and about the conscience, are being called into question... But we are full of courage because we know that our Lord is with us. He's called us to be His soldiers on the ground, working with Him for the salvation of the world." - Cardinal Raymond Burke
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN A MINUTE
Religious Exemptions Denied in Proposed Changes to Dept. of Education Regulations
"Religious liberty is fragile, and religious intolerance and persecution have been recurring features of human history." -Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito
New federal regulations proposed by the US Dept of Health and Human Services would cripple Catholic and other faith-based institutions from hospitals, healthcare, education, and social services and would deny rights of conscience to Catholic employers, healthcare providers and other millions of faithful Americans. Among other things, the regulations would:
* Force doctors to perform gender transition procedures, including surgeries, and mandate insurance coverage for them
* Enshrine gender identity and sexual orientation ideology into education and mandate students be allowed to access restrooms, locker rooms and sports according to their asserted gender.
* Discriminate against religious beliefs in social services
* Suppress faith-based groups at college campuses
* Remove conscience protections for health care professionals' conscience rights
* Would not afford equal treatment to faith-based charities. (1)
"For centuries, the Church's ministries of healing, education, and social services have borne witness to Jesus Christ and built up the common good," wrote the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). "Church institutions are expressions of Christian ministry dedicated to human flourishing. Most Americans understand that mission-driven organizations should be free to operate in accordance with their missions. But a cascade of changes to current regulations is being adopted by various executive agencies that would prevent Christian ministries - and others - from carrying out their work, harming the public who benefits from them." (2)
The proposed HHS rule…” also disregards medical professionals’ duty to provide sound care and tramples on the deeply held religious beliefs of many by forcing them to participate in the practices of gender transitions and abortion,” said Jason Thacker of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC). (3)
These new regulations trample on the religious liberties and conscience rights of health care providers, hospitals, physicians, group health insurers, third party administrators of health plans and all employers with fifteen or more employees…and must be stopped.
(usccb.org, 7/25/22(1)(3); healthaffs.org,7/25/22; aeaweb.org, 7/25/22; tax.thomasreuters.com, 7/28/22) (BaptistPress.com, 7/27/22(2)
America's commitment to religious freedom is 'essential.' ... It constitutes one of our most treasured and jealously guarded constitutional rights." -Statement from U.S. Attorneys General
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN A MINUTE
Heads Up! – Proposed Regulations Deny the Rights of Conscience in Healthcare, Education, and Social Services with Great Harm to the Common Good
August 14, 2022
"We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of the American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel versus the anti-Gospel,"
Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, future Pope John Paul II,
Philadelphia, PA, Eucharistic Congress, August 1-8, 1976.
Many people say there has never been a harder time in the United States to be a Christian because our First Freedoms - Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Speech - are so frequently under attack by secularism that repudiates ancient Christian teachings about life, marriage and family. These losses of heritage and hope could be restored by heeding the words of those who are new converts to the Christian faith, "I wanted what they had." (1)
These converts cite three main characteristics of Christians that attract them:
1. They are "witnesses to beauty and truth, in an age when these precious commodities are undervalued - an age in which some of the most vaunted academic institutions on earth deny they even exist."
2. Since religious illiteracy is rising, and so many have never read scripture, these converts look to Christians and their public example to learn what it means to be "Christian." A passage in Hebrews says, "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers for thereby some have entertained angels unaware."
3. One of the features that set Christianity apart from the very beginning was the selfless caring for others that set into motion what many call the first great awakening - the turn to Christianity by pagan Rome. Telling of how Christians behaved during the plague in 312-313 A.D, a Greek historian wrote, "All day long some of them (Christians) tended to the dying and to their burial, countless numbers with no one to care for them." (2)
This distinguishing charity made a lasting impression on the pagans of yesterday and has the power to do the same today. St. Francis of Assisi told us,” The deeds you do may be the only sermon some people will hear today.”
(thecatholicthing.org, 5/14/22(1)(2); usccb.org(3)
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has launched The National Eucharistic Revival to renew the Church by enkindling a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist that invites all people to experience the Christian faith and to say, "I wanted what they have."(3)
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN A MINUTE
August 7, 2022
There is a "polite persecution" in America and the world that "takes away from man and woman their freedom as well as their right to conscientious objection." - Pope Francis
"I haven't been tortured or thrown in prison. I have my fingernails. I have a few extra gray hairs. But the thing is (polite persecution) is going beyond nondiscrimination into pushing a particular set of ideas," said Rev. Dr. Bernard Randall, bishop of the Church of England and former chaplain at a Christian K-12 school in Cambridge, in his address at the annual International Religious Freedom Summit in Washington D.C., June 28-30, 2022. (1) Three years ago, Rev. Randall was fired from his chaplain position for "gross misconduct" and reported to Child Protective Services and the British Government Anti-Terrorism Prevent Program as a potential violent extremist or instigator of violent extremism after he gave a school chapel sermon in which he said that it is okay for students to believe that biological sex in unchangeable, marriage is between a man and a woman, and that gender identity language was incoherent, if they came to such conclusions.
Rev. Randall believes it is important to fight against the religious discrimination he experienced as a professing Christian. "My story sends a message to other Christians that you are not free to talk about your faith. It seems it is no longer enough to just tolerate (alternate sexual or marriage) ideology. You must accept it without question and no debate is allowed without serious consequences. Someone else will decide what is and what isn't acceptable, and suddenly you can become an outcast, possibly for the rest of your life." (2)
Catholics For Freedom of Religion is dedicated to educating all Americans about the facts of First Amendment religious freedom - what it is, how dearly it was purchased for us and how quickly it can be lost. Through education, prayer and inspiration, each American is empowered to act, according to his conscience, to preserve religious liberty. CFFR has developed the following materials and programs to assist in this goal:
Empower Our Children: “Students of Faith": Our lesson empowers students, parents, and teachers by revealing "THE BIG SECRET" ... "Public Schools are not God-Free Zones!" Video and Guide at www.cffor.org
Educational Bulletin Items: "Focus on Religious Freedom": Emailed weekly to parishes and individuals upon request through email to info@CatholicsforFreedomofReligion.org
Prayer for our country: “Rosary for America”: Praying for the intercession of Mary Immaculate, Patroness of America, to protect each state and guide our leaders in accordance with our Judeo-Christian principles and the principles of our founders. Printable version at www.cffor.org
(irfsummit.org; 1cbn.com, 6/28/22; washingtonstand.com, 7/5/22(1)(2); globalpeace.org, 6/30/22)
"The defense of religious freedom transcends partisanship and politics, and the protection of conscience serves as a fundamental cornerstone of the flourishing of just, free societies.” -The International Religious Freedom Charter, July, 2021
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN A MINUTE
Victims of Polite Persecution in 2022
July 31, 2022
Following the June 24, 2022, ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that returns the question of abortion access to the individual states, numerous churches and pro-life centers across the country have been firebombed, attacked, and vandalized. "We should not be surprised by this level of violence and intimidation. The natural progression of advocating for the killing of babies in the womb is to advocate for violence outside the womb as well," said the Texas Right to Life group. (2)
Churches and locations around the country have been the victims of hundreds of pro-abortion protests that include smashed and decapitated religious statues, desecration of the Eucharist, stolen tabernacles, churches spray painted with graffiti, satanic symbols, messages and obscenities, arson, molotov-cocktails, property theft, smashed windows, and protestors disrupting Masses.
"The FBI is investigating a series of attacks and threats targeting pregnancy resource centers and faith-based organizations across the country," said a statement from the FBI. "The FBI takes all threats seriously and we continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners and will remain vigilant to protect our communities." (1)
"The President condemns the attacks," said the White House deputy press secretary. "He has always denounced violence, threats, and vandalism committed against anyone, for any purpose. And he explicitly repeated these values in his remarks reacting to the Dobbs (abortion) decision, calling for all protests to be peaceful." (3)
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Statement on the U.S. Supreme Court Ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson, June 24, 2022:
"This is a historic day in the life of our country, one that stirs our thoughts, emotions and prayers. For nearly 50 years, America has enforced an unjust law that has permitted some to decide whether others can live or die; this policy has resulted in the deaths of tens of millions of pre-born children, generations that were denied the right to even be born.
"America was founded on the truth that all men and women are created equal, with God-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This truth was grievously denied by the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade ruling, which legalized and normalized the taking of innocent human life. We thank God today that the Court has now overturned this decision." (4)
(kiowacountypress.net, 6/24/22(1)(2)); catholicnewsagency.com, 6/30/22; washingtonpost.com, 6/24/22; nytimes.com, 6/24/22; foxnews.com, 6/30/22(3); usccb.org, 6/24/22(4)
"As religious leaders, we pledge ourselves to continue our service to God's plan of love for the human person, and to work with our fellow citizens to fulfill America's promise to guarantee the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all people." -U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN A MINUTE
Churches and Pro-Life Centers Attacked
July 24, 2022
"Almighty God hath created the mind free ..." -Inscription on Jefferson Memorial, Washington, D.C.
Most of the nation's 56 Founders were openly religious, believing with Samuel Adams that "true Religion and good Morals are the only solid foundations of public liberty and happiness." After signing the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, Samuel Adams wrote, "We have this day restored the Sovereign to whom men ought to be obedient. He reigns in Heaven, and with a propitious eye beholds his subjects assuming that freedom of thought and dignity of self-direction which He bestowed on them. From the rising to the setting of the sun, may His kingdom come!"
"And for the support of this Declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor." - The final line of the Declaration of Independence
With this pledge, the 56 Founders were willing to sacrifice everything for God and for liberty. Many of them and their families suffered hardship that few today remember:
- Five were captured by the British and tortured before they died.
- Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.
- Nine fought and died from wounds or hardships of war.
- A Virginia planter and trader saw his ships sunk by the British navy and he died in poverty.
- Others also lost all their worldly possessions and died bankrupt.
(The Faith of Our Fathers, by Alf Mapp; courant.com, 7/4/18; lehrmaninstitute.org; see the American Minute)
"(Freedom) is a challenge held out to each generation and it must constantly be won over for the sake of the good." - Pope Francis
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN A MINUTE
The Faith of Our Founders – Freedom Requires Sacrifice
July 17, 2022
"There is nothing neutral about Maine's program," wrote Chief Justice John Roberts. "The state pays tuition for certain students at private schools - so long as the schools are not religious. That is discrimination against religion." (1)
In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court decided in favor of families challenging a Maine law that prohibited them from receiving a state school tuition benefit because they chose to send their children to religious affiliated schools. Since some rural areas of Maine lack the student population sufficient to justify building a public school, the state provides a tuition benefit parents can use to pay for the school of their choice - unless the school is religious. In fact, some families have used this tuition benefit towards some academically selective prep schools. In a similar Montana case in a 2020 Supreme Court ruling, Justice Roberts wrote, "A state need not subsidize private education. But once a state decides to do so, it cannot disqualify some private schools solely because they are religious." (2)
"The Court has again affirmed that states cannot exclude religious schools from generally-available public benefits based on their religious affiliation or exercise. In our pluralistic society, it is vital that all people of faith be able to participate in publicly available programs and so contribute to the common good," said Cardinal Dolan and Bishop Daly, chairmen of the USCCB Committees for Religious Liberty and Catholic Education. (3)
Supreme Court Affirms Freedom of Religion and Speech for High School Football Coach
The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in favor of HS coach and former U.S. Marine Jo Kennedy's right to pray quietly in thanksgiving after football games. The coach prayed for less than a minute on the 50-yard line after games when the players and coaches had already shaken hands and he was no longer coaching.
In the fall of 2015, Bremerton school officials tried to put an end to Kennedy's practice of thanksgiving by amending district policies with a new ban on "demonstrative religious activity, readily observable to students and the attending public."(4)
"Respect for religious expression is indispensable to life in a free and diverse Republic - whether these expressions take place in a sanctuary or on the field, and whether they manifest through the spoken word or a bowed head," explained Justice Neil Gorsuch for the Court's majority. This decision also reminds the lower courts to be particularly vigilant when schools undermine the twin freedoms of religion and speech. "That the First Amendment doubly protects religious speech is no accident. It is a natural outgrowth of the framers' distrust of government attempts to regulate religion and suppress dissent," wrote Gorsuch. (5)
(firstliberty.org, 6/24/22(1); washingtonpost.com, 6/21/22(2); aleteia.com, 6/21/22(3); ncregister.com, 6/21/22(4)(5)
The high court "has rightly ruled that the Constitution protects not just the right to be religious but also to act religious." - Cardinal T. Dolan & Bishop T. Daly
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN A MINUTE
Supreme Court Rejects Maine's Ban on Tuition Aid to Religious Schools
July 10, 2022
"Freedom is a gift and a personal responsibility. " - Pope Francis
The First Great Awakening, a religious revival begun in the 1740s, infused the American colonists with a zeal for independence in religious practice as well as government, thus reinforcing the principle of freedom from religious persecution and for religious freedom, that brought the first settlers to America.
After almost a year of trying to resolve their differences with Britain concerning many grievances, together with taxation without representation (the colonists had no say in the decisions of the English Parliament even though they were English citizens), in May 1776, the 13 colonies sent delegates to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia. After nearly two months of prayer, discussion and debate, these "Founders" approved the Declaration of Independence, drafted by Thomas Jefferson.
"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, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness."
"Religious thinking, religious questioning and religious faith permeated the Revolution and the Founding," wrote world history author, H. McDougal. "The American cause was profoundly religious for Protestants and Deists alike because both identified America's future with a Providential (God) design." (1)
"Samuel Adams was the archetype of the religiously passionate American founder ... an apostle of liberty ... a man of deep religious conviction whose confidence, zeal, and endurance in the struggle for freedom was grounded in belief that an intervening God was on his side," said history professor S. Still. (2)
(The Faith of Our Fathers, by Alf Mapp(1)(2); str.org; lehraminstitute.org; hnp.org)
"We have this day restored the Sovereign to whom alone men ought to be obedient. He reigns in Heaven, and with a propitious eye holds his subjects assuming that freedom of thought and dignity of self-direction which He bestowed on them. From the rising to the setting of the sun, may His kingdom come!" - Samuel Adams, Founding Father
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN A MINUTE
July 4, 1776 - A Free Nation is Born
"Religious freedom allows the Church and all religious communities, to live out their faith in public and to serve the common good." USCCB, June 2022
Each year, the U.S. Catholic Bishops launch Religious Freedom Week on June 22, the feast day of SS Thomas More and Bishop John Fisher because these men, who gave their lives for the freedom of religion and freedom of conscience, are role-models for us to follow.
It's good to love one's country, but ultimate loyalty is due only to Christ and his Kingdom. These men loved their country but when the law of King Henry VIII came into conflict with the law of Christ, they submitted to Christ. They bear witness to the truth that no government can make a claim on a person's soul by compelling him to compromise his conscience.
More About the Eucharistic Revival - Begun on June 19, 2022
The Bishops of the U.S. are calling for a 3-year grassroots revival of devotion and belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. They believe that God wants to see a movement of Catholics healed, converted, formed and unified by an encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist and sent out in mission "for the life of the world." (1)
"My hope is that truly a fire of love for Our Lord and the Eucharist will be ignited in our country and people will come to discover that Jesus has always been with us," said Franciscan Sister Alicia Torres. "He has never abandoned us...There's so much new life available through a relationship with him, particularly through his True Presence in the Eucharist." (2)
(eucharisticrevival.org (1); usccb.org; nationalcatholicregister.com(2)
Catholics For Freedom of Religion Celebrates Tenth Anniversary
Please join CFFR on June 26, 2022, St. Agnes Cathedral, Rockville Centre, NY, at 11:00 Mass, as we celebrate 10 years of ministry to educate and advocate for First Amendment Religious Freedom for all.
"I am the living bread that came down from heaven;" John 6:51
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN A MINUTE
More About Religious Freedom Week - June 22-29, 2022
Again this year the U.S. Bishops have declared June 22 - 29, 2022, Religious Freedom Week. We are all called to defend the God-given right to religious liberty which continues to face grave threats in the U.S. and the world. Religious freedom allows the Church and all religious communities, to live out their faith in public and to serve the good of all.
The USCCB chose June 22, the feast day of SS.Thomas More (1478-1535) and John Fisher (1469-1535), the patron saints of Religious Freedom, to begin this important week when Catholics and all Americans are urged to pray, reflect and act to promote religious freedom.
SS. Thomas More and John Fisher were talented and brilliant Renaissance men who contributed to the humanist scholarship of early modern England. Thomas More wrote theological and philosophical treatises during his career as a lawyer and government official. Bishop John Fisher was notable as an administrator and for his dedication to preaching. Above all their accomplishments, these men bore witness to a deep faith in Christ and his Church.
Both men were opposed to King Henry VIII’s divorce from his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, when he petitioned the pope for an annulment in order to marry Anne Boleyn. Henry then claimed to be the supreme head of the Church in England, asserting sovereign power over English Christians and demanding they sign an oath of supremacy agreeing that King Henry was supreme head of the Church. More and Fisher refused to sign the oath because this law of the king came into conflict with the law of Christ. Ultimately, they were executed since they followed their consciences and submitted to Christ. Thus, SS. Thomas More and Bishop John Fisher gave their lives for the freedom of religion and for freedom of conscience.
(usccb.org; catholicnewsworld.com; catholiccourier.com, 6/24/21)
"I die the King's good servant, but God's first." - St. Thomas More, 1535
Catholics For Freedom of Religion Celebrates Their Tenth Anniversary!
Please join Catholics For Freedom of Religion parish volunteers on June 26, 2022, at St. Agnes Cathedral, Rockville Centre, NY, at 11am Mass, as we pray for religious freedom for all and celebrate ten years of ministry to educate and advocate for First Amendment Freedom of Religion for all.
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN A MINUTE
Religious Freedom Week 2022 : Theme - Life and Dignity
"Man has the right to act in conscience and in freedom so as personally to make moral decisions. He must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience. Nor must he be prevented from acting according to his conscience, especially in religious matters." -Catechism of the Catholic Church #1782
In a direct threat to conscience rights and religious freedom to all countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a document in March 2022 that stated, "If it proves impossible to regulate conscience objection in a way that respects, protects and fulfills, abortion seekers' rights, conscientious objection in abortion provision may become indefensible." Alyssa Koren, director of United Nations advocacy at Alliance Defending Freedom International said, "Put bluntly, the WHO is looking to leverage its enormous influence and budgetary power to chip away at international provisions and eventually work to establish a new legal regime ... with no right to conscientious objection." (1)
Koren explained, "International human rights law recognizes the unborn child as a rights-holding person, ... (therefore) no right to abortion exists." (2) In addition, the WHO acknowledges that 75% of countries have legal penalties for abortion. "... it is imperative that we consistently assert that international law is pro-life," said Koren. "Authentic respect for human rights requires safeguarding the right to life of the unborn, in addition to ensuring that mothers and their families have the resources and support necessary to welcome new life."(3)
Freedom of conscience and religion are assured by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international declarations. However, "the fact that the World Health Organization would promote a frontal assault on such a fundamental right as freedom of conscience shows how irresponsible it has become," wrote the Catholic League. (4)
(catholicworldreport.com, 3/21/22(1)(2)(3); catholicleague.org, 3/28/22(4)
"All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent."
- Edmund Burke, (1729-1797) statesman, philosopher, writer
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN A MINUTE
World Health Organization Recommends End to Conscience Rights
"There is no religious liberty if we are not free to express our faith in the public square and if we are not free to act on that faith." - Archbishop William E. Lori
A federal judge ordered that a fired Southwest Airlines flight attendant's lawsuit proceed to trial. "(This) decision acknowledges that, at its core, this case is about an individual worker's right to object to how forced union dues are spent by union officials to take positions that are completely contrary to the (religious) beliefs of many workers forced under the union's so-called 'representation'," said President Mark Mix, National Right to Work Foundation.(1) When Charleen Carter objected to union officials using union dues to attend a pro-abortion event in Washington D.C. in 2017, she was fired. "What we have here is Southwest Airlines, ...and the Transport Workers Union basically teaming up to thwart the (religious) ideological views of one of their employees," said Mr. MIx. (2)
Two fired Alaska Airlines flight attendants sued the carrier and the Association of Flight Attendants union, saying they were discriminated against for posting "biblically based" comments to a company message board. They had each questioned the airlines public support for the federal Equality Act, a bill now in Congress, that would remove protections granted under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). "Alaska Airlines 'canceled' Lacey and Marli because of their religious beliefs, flagrantly disregarding federal civil rights laws that protect people of faith from discrimination," said senior counsel for First Liberty Institute. (3)
The so-called Equality Act is strongly opposed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), since it would erode religious freedom and enshrine the redefinition of marriage and gender ideology into law, requiring people to conform regardless of their religious beliefs. "Instead of respecting differences in beliefs about marriage and sexuality, the Equality Act would discriminate against people of faith," the USCCB warned. (4) "It cancels by name specific provisions of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) of 1993, putting religious employers such as churches and private religious schools, hospitals, adoption agencies, and others at severe risk or lawsuits," wrote CEO Robert Netzly, in the Christian Post. (5)
(americanews.com, 5/17/22(1); matthewadum.com, 5/15/22(2); thechristianpost.com, 5/18/22(3)(5);
catholicworld.com, 2/19/21(4); washingtontimes.com, 5/17/22)
"Religious freedom is the lifeblood of the American people, the cornerstone of the American government." - Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN A MINUTE
Religious Discrimination Against Fired Flight Attendants