Religious Freedom: The First Freedom

Friday, June 26, AD 2015

Fortnight For Freedom 2015



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 from 2011.

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One Response to Religious Freedom: The First Freedom

Fortnight For Freedom Day Seven: The Freemen Have Assented

Wednesday, June 27, AD 2012


Beginning for two weeks, up to Independence Day, the Bishops are having a Fortnight For Freedom:

On April 12, the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty of the U.S.  Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a document, “Our First,  Most Cherished Liberty,” outlining the bishops’ concerns over threats to religious freedom, both at home and abroad. The bishops called for a “Fortnight for Freedom,” a 14-day period of prayer, education and action in support of religious freedom, from June 21-July 4.


Bishops in their own dioceses are encouraged to arrange special events to  highlight the importance of defending religious freedom. Catholic  institutions are encouraged to do the same, especially in cooperation  with other Christians, Jews, people of other faiths and all who wish to  defend our most cherished freedom.


The fourteen days from June  21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to  July 4, Independence Day, are dedicated to this “fortnight for  freedom”—a great hymn of prayer for our country. Our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face  of persecution by political power—St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More,  St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the  Church of Rome.  Culminating on Independence Day, this special period of prayer, study, catechesis, and public action would emphasize both our  Christian and American heritage of liberty. Dioceses and parishes around the country could choose a date in that period for special events that  would constitute a great national campaign of teaching and witness for  religious liberty.


We here at The American Catholic are participating in the Fortnight For Freedom with special blog posts on each day.  This is the seventh of these blog posts.

Maryland, the Catholic colony, played an important role in early American colonial history.  Although Catholics in Maryland would eventually be stripped of many of their civil rights in Maryland by a Protestant majority until the time of the Revolution, while they were a political force they helped lay the foundations for a new nation.  One of the most remarkable documents produced during the time that Catholics ruled Maryland is The Toleration Act of 1649, one of the first legislative acts in the American colonies to establish toleration for all Christian faiths.  This was a compromise document between the Catholics and Protestants of Maryland and its text is as follows:

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15 Responses to Fortnight For Freedom Day Seven: The Freemen Have Assented

  • “Tolerance applies only to persons, but never to principles. Intolerance applies only to principles, but never to persons.” Bishop Fulton Sheen.

    HOW COULD ANY MAN DENY TO ANOTHER MAN PRESENCE IN THE PUBLIC SQUARE? Isn’t the public square the possession of each and every PERSON in joint and common tenancy and each and every PERSON, the child of “their Creator”? It appears that some men can impose their form of hatred upon other men using the very FREEDOM endowed by “their Creator”, the Father of Jesus Christ and our Father, WHO is in heaven. The PERSON of Jesus Christ cannot be disenfranchised of His rights endowed by “their Creator” to all men without proof of evildoing, in this case treason, incurring the necessity for removal of scandal and impending harm. Let the punishment fit the crime. Let the evildoer be hung upon his own gibbet (petard).

  • “Toleration, or, to be more exact, religious liberty, is in every one’s mouth, and the constant theme of declamation with all who would depreciate their ancestors, glorify themselves, or win the applause of the multitude ; but, unless we are greatly deceived, it is a theme on which there is much loose writing, and still more loose speaking and thinking. ”
    this is a quote from “Civil and Religious Toleration” in Orestes Brownson’s Quarterly Review, July, 1849.
    Brownson is too little read I think..
    If you are interested:

  • I’m concerned that the Catholic Bishops unfairly pound the drum of religious freedom to infringe on the rights of Catholics and non-Catholics in a manner which is inconsistent with our Constitutional liberties. Recently we have heard sermons about how the government is interfering with these liberties, without making reference to exactly how this is being done, but anyone who has been paying attention is aware this has all to do with women’s reproductive rights (e.g., birth control) which the Bishops are going to mat against Pres. Obama. Since reproductive medical care is a legal right, it is the Bishops who foist their ill-conceived notion of public morality down the throats of the US public.

  • Sheerest rubbish. No one is stopping women from buying contraceptives. For the cheapest political advantage Obama decided to run roughshod over religious liberty by mandating that employers provide insurance coverage which covers contraceptives. You couldn’t be more twisted in your perception of what this fight is about.

  • Ridiculous lies: How the left cheats in the war of ideas. E.G., Jim Hall.

    It’s not an “ill-conceived notion.” The bishops are promulgating 2,000 years consistent Church teaching against abortion and artificial contraception.

    You have the right to commit these mortal sins. Obama and you do not have the right to require the Church pay for sins against life, morals and the Holy Spirit.

  • You both have the right to your opinions, but neither of you, or the Church, have any right to make your religious views the law of the land. The complaint is that government interferes with religion, but it’s the other way around. Also, such intolerance is driving many Catholics out of the Church.

  • Once again total rubbish. The Church is not attempting to impose a ban on contraceptives on the nation. The Obama regime is attempting to impose on the nation that employers have to provide insurance to their employees that covers contraceptives, no matter their religious scruples. As for Catholics leaving the Church over the Bishops standing up for religious freedom, frankly such Catholics left the Church de facto long ago.

  • You both have the right to your opinions, but neither of you, or the Church, have any right to make your religious views the law of the land.

    It must feel wonderful to knock such a powerful strawman argument down, but sadly (for you) the Church is not trying to make its religious views the law of the land. It is simply fighting efforts by the government to impose its morality upon the Church by forcing it to pay for practices it deems to be immoral. Remember that first amendment thing you leftists pretend to hold so sacrosanct? Yeah, that’s what is at stake. (Cue leftist protesting that he is not a leftist.)

    . The complaint is that government interferes with religion, but it’s the other way around.

    Not that you haven’t done a masterful job of proving your argument, but we’re going to need a little bit more than “nuh uh, you’re the intolerant one” to convince us of the veracity of this claim.

    Also, such intolerance is driving many Catholics out of the Church.

    Really? The Churches I’ve been to look to be as full as ever. You don’t think this might a bit of wish fulfillment on your part?

  • JH: Quick! Call your Mom and thank her for not aborting you.

  • @7:59:
    “You both have the right to your opinions, but neither of you, or the Church, have any right to make your religious views the law of the land. The complaint is that government interferes with religion, but it’s the other way around. ”

    Not the other way around, the mandate was made on 1/20/2012 which interfered with religious beliefs. See the below three points.

    “June 27, 2012
    The HHS Mandate: A Question of Religious Freedom or the Life Issues?

    by Peter J. Colosi

    Editor’s note: This is the first of a three part article that will discuss the current approach of the US Bishops in order to thank them and praise their efforts, while at the same time pointing out a certain oversight in their approach. Following parts will look at the reasons not often mentioned for which the Administration is enacting the HHS Mandate as well as ideas on how most wisely to approach the question of contraception in the midst of the fight for religious freedom.

    The Approach of the Bishops: Praise and A Question

    Stating What the Fight Is and Is Not About

    It is wonderful to see the unity, work and leadership of the Bishops in the fight for Religious freedom. We should both thank God for and join with them in their focused attention on the wrongheaded general principles they list as built into the Mandate: (1) an unwarranted government definition of religion; (2) a mandate to act against our teachings; and (3) a violation of personal civil rights. Regardless of the specific content of this mandate (contraception), these wrongheaded general principles violate the nature of freedom and conscience, and they violate the laws and customs of the United States of America. This would also be true if the government had begun its attack on religious freedom by forcing the Amish to subsidize car sales on their property. …”

  • Jim Hall “reproductive medical care is a legal right” ??
    I am not a lawyer but I am asking- exactly how many rights have we enumerated?
    If it is a right, who supplies it?

    Your comment makes me think you just don’t understand the issues.. and the lack of knowledge must certainly be willful at this point. Anyone can plainly see the church is not trying to impose morality, but defending it’s own right to it’s own morals.

  • Mr. Hall, no one is making any serious attempt to make Catholic views on contraception the law of the land. There’s a whole lot of daylight between outlawing something and not providing a subsidy for it. (Ask anybody who likes their Jack Daniels.)

    And where are these Americans who are so priced out of the market for artificial contraception that they can’t afford condoms? Granted, I expect there are plenty of Americans, from Sandra Flew on down, who don’t *want* to use condoms. But there are plenty of Americans who want better housing than Section 8 affords, too, and I don’t hear anyone trumpeting *their* (much more defensible) right to good housing.

    You appear to be frightened of shadows.

    What *is* happening–and what can be verified simply by reference to public texts published by the U.S. Government–is that this Administration (apparently with your approval) is trying to force Catholics (and others) to pay for acts we consider intrinsically evil. Put more baldly, in order to solve a non-problem, you consider the consciences of millions of Americans expendable. (Just counting the observant Catholics, you still get millions, and I’m not even counting in the Mormons or the Orthodox or other folks who object to artificial contraception on conscience.)

    Who are you to tell us that our consciences don’t count?

  • The one comment, from Mr. Brown, which invites reply: “What *is* happening. . . . that this Administration (apparently with your approval) is trying to force Catholics (and others) to pay for acts we consider intrinsically evil.” Please, check your facts. After the Catholic Bishops raised a stink, the Obama Admin reached an accord to the effect that religious organizations may opt out of the requirement to include birth control coverage in their employee insurance plans, and upon doing so the insurers themselves will offer contraception coverage to enrollees directly, at no additional cost.

    Please note the manifest ironies, that even wholly “Catholic” hospitals and charities are staffed primarily by non-Catholics and largely provide services to people of other faiths or of none, paid for with tax dollars. Regardless, by now objecting to its employees election to secure such services–even when the Church is not ‘forced’ to paraticipate in the alleged evil–it is very clear that the Church is interfering with freedom here.

    The Church’s effort to cry foul over these matters is shameful. I’m not sure if you bunch are being run by Fox News, or if this is a “Saturday Night Live” moment which the Bishops hope to secure public ridicule. In either event, its position on these issues would be comical if not so pernicious and the outcome so damaging.

  • Jim Hall, It is the mission of the Catholic Church to save souls, that rational, immortal part of the human being . The spiritual works of mercy are inscribed in the bible. It is the duty of the church to resist anything that might endanger man’s soul. God cares for us as a mother cares for her infant. If an immortal soul goes to hell man is made more poor by its loss. Mankind was made for God and heaven. Without God and heaven, life becomes meaningless, and you can go to hell, unless you will to go to heaven. Now, Obamacare denies that you can will to go to heaven by denying man’s conscience and free will, which you call freedom from the state, but the true freedom, the truth from God is necessary to find heaven.

  • JIm Hall again with the willful misunderstanding.
    The Catholic organization pays the insurance provider for what the insurance provider provides. The Catholic then is still cooperating in paying for something he don’t believe in.
    Insurance companies should get to decide what kind of coverage they want to offer too.
    The government (Medicaid) provides the patient with the ability to pay for services provided, that does not give the government the right to require the service provider to provide something they don’t believe in. That’s like saying “I’ve got money so you have to sell me something, even if that something is not in your inventory.” Glad you’ve got money, but I don’t have to sell you what I don’t want to sell.
    People have the choice to go to Catholic organizations for service or for employment– the organization describes the job requirements and benefits, while also choosing to provide a service and what to include in that service… and who to hire.