The case of Little Sisters of the Poor v Burwell (one of seven cases bundled under Zubik v Burwell) should matter to all Americans. When a society abandons religious freedom, the loss of other freedoms are sure to follow.
The way most ordinary people are beginning to notice it: it’s okay in church, but don’t bring it to work, don’t run a business according to it, because it’s no longer socially acceptable. — Most Rev. William Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore
“It” refers to the relegation of faith to something you believe in your head and do in church on Sunday, but don’t live in accordance with it any other day of the week or anywhere else. The first amendment guarantees our right not just to believe, but also to exercise our beliefs.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
As we know “faith without works is dead.” (James 2:26) (I’m slightly more partial to James 2:20, which says “Do you want proof, you ignoramus, that faith without works is useless?” But this is a digression and beginning of a tangent, so just start watching the USCCB’s latest video on religious freedom. The video begins with the Little Sisters, explains why religious liberty is important and what’s at stake, expands the conversation to the international level.
As people abandon God, they are more likely to turn to the government, seeking licenses to do as they please. As the government oversteps the healthy and necessary boundaries of its function, it will encroach the chasm left by the absence of God, and we will see more and more coercion. We must start paying attention, because the demise of America began quietly, subtly, while people were busy watching [name any show on TV]. While we were looking at the TV, we might not have noticed the increasing frequency of the following:
- Attempts, frequently successful, to shame and silence anyone who brings religious belief into a conversation or debate or anywhere in the public square
- The favorite strategy is an ad homium attack (I’ve run out of Truth, reason, logic, and I have no faith, so I’ll call you names, like hater or bigot); don’t fall for it! When someone calls you a name before you’ve presented half your case, you’ve most likely won the argument (but don’t forget to be kind and win the soul)
- Fines, like those the Little Sisters of the Poor and other businesses and organizations face
- Threat of job loss for nurses who refuse to participate in abortions
- Loss of business or organization, like Catholic agencies that shuttered their adoption services for refusing to deny a child both a father and a mother
- Post-graduate counseling students thrown out of school / losing credits for wanting to refer clients with same-sex attraction to other counselors
With all this going on it’s no wonder that the Obama administration was not just slow and only at the eleventh hour acknowledged the genocide of Christians, Yazidis, and other minority groups at the hands of ISIS.
- Read / listen Pope Francis’ morning meditation, April 12, 2016, on “two kinds of persecution“
- Read Dignitatus Humanae
- Read update on Little Sisters SCOTUS case
- Learn Resources on religious liberty at home, including lesson plans for teachers
- Read Undeniable: The Survey of Hostility to Religion in America (First Liberty Institute documented hundreds of cases)
- Advocate Petition Congress to support the Conscience Protection Act of 2016
Questions of the Day
- How many people understand the difference between authentic freedom and license?
- If America is no longer wiling to be the model for religious freedom, which country will, if any could, stand in our place?