The call to the Catholic faithful to oppose the administration of Barack Obama continues to intensify with a new proclamation issued by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops which directly calls for all Catholics to fight for the reversal of the February "mandate" which requires Catholic and other religious institutions in America to provide what the Harrisburg Diocese's website calls "infanticide" services which violate Catholic teaching and conscience.
The direct call of the Catholic Bishops has been heard by this writer - who today read the specific request for the "courage and zeal" to write about this assault on religious liberty in America, this direct attack on the "first freedom" as they call the First Amendment guarantee of religious freedom.
I must say that my beliefs both as an American citizen and as a Catholic were riveted by this statement of the Bishops as nothing I have ever read from them ever before as their call to all people of all faiths to help defend this most crucial right from this assault by the Administration of Barack Obama.
The Bishops especially appealed to "writers, producers, artists, publishers, filmmakers and bloggers employing all the means of communications - both old and new media" to play "a critical role in this struggle for religious freedom."
And so I pass their call for help on to you as we have been asked "to use (our) skills and talents in defense of our first freedom."
The Bishops didn't pull any punches, starting right out with the bold assertion that "religious liberty is under attack" and calling on "fellow Catholics and fellow Americans to be on guard."
What is being forced on Catholic Americans as a matter of law - in the form of a "mandate" or a federal "dictate" that is nothing less than a demand that we cooperate "in intrinsically evil practices" when it comes to harm to unborn babies and the elimination of our freedom of conscience to ignore such demands on us.
Again and again the Catholic Bishops do not pull any punches in this new April proclamation, flat out stating that "our most cherished freedom" is "truly under threat."
It isn't a matter of preferences or practices which are at stake in the February edict but instead as Archbishop-designate William Lori of Baltimore testified to Congress "is a matter of whether religious people and institutions may be forced by the government to provide coverage for contraceptives or sterilization, even if that violates their religious beliefs."
Even before this Obama Administration February edict, Catholic foster care and adoption services have been driven out of business in Boston, San Francisco, the District of Columbia and the state of Illinois.
Some of those who have attacked my writings here at RED STATE and on Facebook who have admitted that they are not Christian and cannot stand any reference to Christian beliefs when it comes to politics are surely going to be horrified by this statement. I can predict their usual line of attack will simply be to offer personal insult to the undersigned correspondent for this report as they have done before again and again.
Such individuals really get more wild eyed when you remind them that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson purposely founded a Republic that would guarantee religious freedom.
Washington wrote, as the Catholic Bishops report, that "the establishment of Civil and Religious Liberty was the motive that induced me to the field of battle."
And Jefferson promised the nuns who operated a hospital, an orphanage and schools in Louisiana - - that the Constitution's principles guaranteed that they'd be free from "interference from the civil authority."
Little did Thomas Jefferson know that this promise would be long forgotten by so many in America, as those hospitals, orphanages and schools are already being prohibited by President Barack Obama's local government allies as reported above, with a worsening of the situation now scheduled within the next year.
In fact, the threat is so real and so certain that the Catholic Bishops statement makes a flat out call for future civil disobedience if the law is not changed.
No government can compel someone to obey an immoral, wrong law that so clearly conflicts with their religious belief and is so contrary to both the spirit and intent of the First Amendment.
The specific language of that First Amendment, cited as our "first freedom" by the Catholic bishops, is bluntly clear: " The First Amendment guarantees that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
The Bishops call for men and women of courage to take a stand, and to either force the law to be changed, to throw out of office those attempting to subvert our religious freedom or, as a last resort, civil disobedience against an unjust law.
It isn't a matter of being Catholic.
It is not merely a Christian issue.
Men of any faith, and those who believe simply that the constraints against government's interference with our liberty as detailed in the Bill of Rights ought not to be trampled on, should demand all elected officials take action to reverse this evil edict or be replaced.
The Second Vatican Council explained (1966) that religious freedom is not simply a matter of demanding that the government allow people to pray at home or at a church of their own choosing and as they wish but that we should also be "immune from coercion... in matters religious" and that "no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs."
Pope Benedict XVI recently expressed his direct concern that "the most cherished of American freedoms" - our religious liberty - is under direct attack.
The Bishops' new statement this month affirmed " The Lord Jesus came to liberate us from the dominion of sin. Political liberties are one part of that liberation, and religious liberty is the first of those liberties. Together with our fellow Christians, joined by our Jewish brethren, and in partnership with Americans of other religious traditions, we affirm that our faith requires us to defend the religious liberty granted us by God, and protected in our Constitution."
Back in February when this Obama edict was first announced, Cardinal Roger Mahoney, recently retired as the archbishop of Los Angeles, said "I cannot imagine a more direct and frontal attack on freedom of conscience than this ruling today. This decision must be fought against with all the energies the Catholic community can muster".
The Bishops statement also calls for a "Fortnight for Freedom" from June 21 to July 4th to include prayer, fasting, and special events to "highlight the importance of defending our first freedom."
One of my sources reports that the Bishops' call was echoed locally by Father Samuel Houser of St. Patrick Catholic Church in York City, PA and by other Catholic priests in the diocese of Harrisburg and throughout the United States at yesterday's church services. I heard the clarion call from the pulpit. Every Catholic who attended mass in America yesterday heard such a call.
Father Houser read a letter from a Jewish survivor who likened the silence of Americans and the world during the Nazi Holocaust to what is happening today as babies are being systematically slaughtered by taxpayer subsidized abortion mills especially focused on poor black neighborhoods.
Yet as Father Houser said, last Tuesday a mere 20 percent voted in the Pennsylvania primary election which means, he said, that less than 11 percent of our population has decided who we will be able to vote for in the November general election.
Father Houser and other American Catholic priests across America yesterday echoed the call of their Bishops to rise up against this assault not just on their Catholic beliefs but on the idea of protected religious liberty in America.
The Catholics have my pledge of obedience to their call to assist them in this worthy endeavor, now and most especially in the two weeks leading to July 4th.
Not only because I am a Catholic but because I am an American and understand something secular liberals appear not to: the government is and ought to be constrained from doing certain things, and first among those, is to not interfere with our religious liberty.
I pray that you will join me in this pledge to do our utmost to defend our American rights, now and during that "Fortnight of Freedom" which concludes on America's Independence Day.
HanoverHenry of RED STATE is Pat Henry on Facebook, and I'm on the lookout for new friends there. You can also communicate via private mail at Facebook, and I welcome new sources for my articles focusing on the conservative-Christian viewpoint in Pennsylvania. I appreciate your sharing this article elsewhere and only ask that you include this "disclaimer" in any reprints or sharing you do. And I thank those whose information have helped me with some of my reports, including those who do not wish to be quoted by name.
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