Monday, June 17, 2013

Fortnight of Freedom - A Call to Action

Friends of Faith:
I write this morning to call every Christian into action and to ask us all to join together in the 2013 Fortnight for Freedom: June 21 to July 4.
The U.S. bishops have called for a Fortnight for Freedom, a two-week period of prayer and action, to address many current challenges to religious liberty, including the August 1, 2013 deadline for religious organizations to comply with the HHS mandate, Supreme Court rulings that could attempt to redefine marriage in June, and religious liberty concerns in areas such as immigration and humanitarian services.
Regardless of our personal religious beliefs and/or which denomination we name ourselves, we as Americans have long taken pride in the fact that if what we believed would not harm another being than that belief would be protected by the religious liberty our country was founded upon.
That did not mean that the pursuit of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness would be trumped by “equality.” Or that one belief was more equal than another belief. It meant that we would have the right to form a rightful, faithful conscience and that our conscience choices would allow us to make the choices necessary within our lives, businesses and families based upon the faith that we each profess.
Freedom (and our conscience) should not allow us to take a life, abuse widows or orphans, or ignore the one who created and died for us—but rather it should protect our right to live our conscience beliefs, including choosing a religion and accepting the gift of faith each of us has been given.
Without God there is no conscience, and without God there is no freedom. That is why this country was founded: to protect our freedom to believe in God and to give liberty and justice to all. God is the one who designed and created us. God is the only one who can and should judge. His law is the only law that will protect us and His law is the only law that should limit us by stopping us before we do wrong.
“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” Mt 22: 37-40
God’s laws should form our conscience. God’s laws do not contradict but give freedom to all.
The media have implied all along that the dispute is mainly of concern to a Catholic minority with peculiar views about human sexuality. But religious leaders of all faiths have been quick to see that what is involved is a flagrant violation of religious freedom. That's why former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Baptist minister, declared, 'We're all Catholics now.'" – Mary Ann Glendon, Wall Street Journal
"We are Catholics.” (And I would add faithful Christians) “We are Americans. We are proud to be both, grateful for the gift of faith which is ours as Christian disciples, and grateful for the gift of liberty which is ours as American citizens. To be Catholic and American should mean not having to choose one over the other. Our allegiances are distinct, but they need not be contradictory, and should instead be complementary. That is the teaching of our Catholic faith, which obliges us to work together with fellow citizens for the common good of all who live in this land. That is the vision of our founding and our Constitution, which guarantees citizens of all religious faiths the right to contribute to our common life together. " —Our First, Most Cherished Liberty: A Statement on Religious Liberty, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, April 12, 2012
From your provident hand we have received our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
You have called us as your people and given us the right and the duty to worship you, the only true God, and your Son, Jesus Christ.
Through the power and working of your Holy Spirit, you call us to live out our faith in the midst of the world, bringing the light and the saving truth of the Gospel to every corner of society.
We ask you to bless us in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty.
Give us the strength of mind and heart to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened;
Give us courage in making our voices heard on behalf of the rights of your Church and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith.
Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father,
A clear and united voice to all your sons and daughters gathered in your Church in this decisive hour in the history of our nation,
So that, with every trial withstood
and every danger overcome—
For the sake of our children, our grandchildren,
and all who come after us—
This great land will always be “one nation, under God,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Copyright © 2012, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved.
Let us stand together and pray together to protect God’s laws.

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