Threats against life and against the consciences of those who say “yes” to life must be met with timely and unwavering action, in our families and institutions, and, yes, in the public square.
- Cardinal DiNardo, vigil of the March for Life, 2012
On Friday, at noon, there will be coordinated, nation-wide rallies in support of religious freedom. The list of cities participating is available at Stand Up For Religious Freedom.
This is not a “Catholic thing”. If one group’s rights are trampled, nobody’s rights are safe. Our founders argued for religious toleration for all faiths, even though many of them were certainly strongly anti-Catholic. They were wise enough to know that if one group can be singled out for repression, then the list may be expanded to include others. It had happened in England; first, the Catholics were arrested, fined, and harrassed into emigrating or giving up their faith. Next, it was the other dissenters: the Quakers, Puritans, and others who disagreed with a state-run church. You may notice that a lot of these people fled to the U.S. to find religious freedom.
The media has painted this as “those crazy papists, again!” Yes, anti-Catholicism is alive and well in this country, and many will be persuaded by the coverage to believe this is just a “stupid Catholics being unreasonable” thing that can be safely ignored. It isn’t “just a Catholic thing”, but don’t take my word for it. Dr. James Dobson has written a strong statement against compliance with the HHS mandate. Chuck Colson, may he rest in peace, adamantly opposed the HHS mandate. Many other religious leaders, Christian and otherwise, have joined in saying that all Americans must stand up and oppose this, no matter what you believe about contraception.
“Freedom of religion” does not simply mean that I can worship however I please, as long as I don’t let anyone know about it in public by my words or actions. My freedom of religion does not end as soon as I say or believe something that the government deems inappropriate. My freedom of religion is not contingent on my ability to afford a fine when my beliefs run afoul of what the government has declared legal.
But if my freedom of religion can be circumscribed this way, so can yours.
It’s an hour. Get out there. This Friday, at noon.