Religious Freedom: The First Freedom

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As mankind become more liberal they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protection of civil government.  I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations in examples of justice and liberality.  And I presume that your fellow-citizens will not forget the patriotic part which you took in the accomplishment of their Revolution, and the establishment of their government; or the important assistance which they received from a nation in which the Roman Catholic faith is professed.

George Washington, March 15, 1790

 

Catholics in this country have long enjoyed complete religious liberty.  The experience of that freedom in this country was one one of the factors that caused Popes to embrace the concept of religious liberty as enshrined in the documents of Vatican II.  Maryland, the Catholic colony, was the first colony to proclaim religious freedom in the New World.

Now that precious liberty that so many Americans have fought and died for down through the centuries is under siege by local and state governments and the Obama administration.  The Bishops of Maryland have spoken out against this evil trend.  Go here to read their 16 page statement.

This battle has been brewing for a very long time, and now it is upon us.  Time for all Catholics to stand by the Church and remind ourselves, and our adversaries, that we are the Church Militant.

2 Responses to Religious Freedom: The First Freedom

  • “Defending Religious Freedom
    Where do we go from here? Given all that we’ve discussed, what do we
    do to preserve and strengthen the great gift of religious liberty?
    • Prayer
    Prayer is the most powerful tool we have. Conversation with Our
    Lord opens up wellsprings of grace that enable us to become effective
    instruments in His hands and that assist others in making prudent
    decisions. We must first thank God for the great gift of religious
    liberty and ask Him to help us to use it wisely. We must pray for our
    elected leaders and all public officials whose duties affect religious
    liberty. We must intercede for those whose religious liberty or right
    of conscience has been violated. We must ask blessings on those who
    look on the right of conscience and religious freedom with disdain or
    those who do not yet appreciate these gifts.
    • Education
    Religious liberty and the right of conscience will be further eroded
    unless the Catholic community stays informed about the challenges
    these rights face and the reasons why they are integral to a just society.
    We encourage you to share this statement with family and friends
    so that they too may learn more about this issue. More thorough
    examinations of this issue may be found in Dignitatis Humanae,
    which is the Second Vatican Council’s Declaration on Religious
    Freedom, as well as “Religious Freedom, the Path to Peace,” which
    was Pope Benedict XVI’s message for the 2011 World Day of Peace.
    Our diocesan newspapers are invaluable sources of information
    about current threats to religious freedom and the Church’s efforts to
    support religious freedom.
    • Action
    The most basic way for us to participate in the political process is
    by voting in local, state, and federal elections, an action we should
    always undertake with prayer and prudence. After that, standing up
    for religious liberty only takes one click of the keyboard or mouse.
    Our Maryland Catholic Advocacy Network, run by the Maryland
    Catholic Conference, provides updates on public policy issues of
    concern and provides pre-drafted e-mails to send to lawmakers and
    other public officials on key issues. You can register online at www.
    mdcathcon.org. There also are opportunities to advocate for religious
    liberty in person, such as the Catholic Lobby Night held every
    Presidents’ Day in Annapolis.”

    _Prayer – No barrier but our own hearts.

    _Education – Awareness as suggested in the readable 16 page statement and such as this blog and diocesan news and webs.

    _Action – Using pre-drafted emails from our dioceses for clear messages to lawmakers etc. One mouse click – among many that might not otherwise happen.

    Sounds like a plan that could work to me. Some hope in the confusion around us.

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