In follow-up of our post last week where we called out the Boston Archdiocese for not joining the religious freedom lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services, today we are pleased to share with you the ways in which the Boston Archdiocese is promoting the cause of religious freedom.
As expressed by “Capt Crunch” in a comment, Cardinal Sean has mentioned the Fortnight to Freedom in his most recent blog post.
This week we were pleased to express our support for the 43 dioceses and Catholic institutions that filed suit in federal court to prevent the implementation of the federal mandate that would require most health plans offered by Catholic employers to cover drugs and procedures they find morally objectionable.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops continues in its efforts to counteract the nefarious effects of the mandate, which is an intrusion into the practice of religion in our country. There is an ongoing dialogue with the White House (which has not been terribly fruitful) and there continue to be efforts in Congress, but it was thought that the courts must be also part of the strategy. So, a number of dioceses and institutions were identified in different areas of the country to join in a lawsuit.
Those suits are going forward and we are also waiting to hear what the Supreme Court will decide in their review of the Affordable Care Act.
In light of these events, we can see that the observance of the Fortnight for Freedom will serve as an important tool for Catholics to understand the issues that are at stake.
Information about the Fortnight of Freedom can be found on the USCCB website here. As part of the effort, Cardinal O’Malley will be hosting a virtual “Town Hall Meeting” on CatholicTV and WQOM (AM 1060) on June 25 at 8pm.
The archdiocesan website discusses the issue here:
Religious liberty is not only about our ability to go to Mass on Sunday or pray the Rosary at home. It is about whether we can make our contribution to the common good of all Americans. Can we do the good works our faith calls us to do, without having to compromise that very same faith? Without religious liberty properly understood, all Americans suffer, deprived of the essential contribution in education, health care, feeding the hungry, civil rights, and social services that religious Americans make every day, both here at home and overseas.
What is at stake is whether America will continue to have a free, creative, and robust civil society—or whether the state alone will determine who gets to contribute to the common good, and how they get to do it. Religious believers are part of American civil society, which includes neighbors helping each other, community associations, fraternal service clubs, sports leagues, and youth groups. All these Americans make their contribution to our common life, and they do not need the permission of the government to do so. Restrictions on religious liberty are an attack on civil society and the American genius for voluntary associations.
This is not a Catholic issue. This is not a Jewish issue. This is not an Orthodox, Mormon, or Muslim issue. It is an American issue.
What we ask is nothing more than that our God-given right to religious liberty be respected. We ask nothing less than that the Constitution and laws of the United States, which recognize that right, be respected.
We suggest that the fourteen days from June 21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to July 4, Independence Day, be dedicated to a “fortnight for freedom“—a great hymn of prayer for our country.
This all looks pretty good to BCI, and we commend the Boston Archdiocese for this initial effort to get behind the Fortnight of Freedom initiative.
Oddly, not mentioned at all by the Archdiocese is the Stand Up for Religious Freedom rally, taking place in Boston on Friday, June 8 at 12 noon. It takes place on Boston Common, across from the State House.
In March, over 60,000 Americans rallied against the HHS Mandate in 145 cities coast to coast.
Now, with the Supreme Court set to rule on the constitutionality of the Obamacare law, the Stand Up Rally is hitting the streets again on June 8.
More on that next week.
One person not likely to be at the rally or participating in the Fortnight of Freedom initiative that opposes the Obama administration mandate is Boston Catholic Schools fundraiser and Finance Council member, Jack Connors, Jr. This Boston Globe article last week reported that Jack is busy organizing another multi-million-dollar fundraiser for the reelection campaign of President Obama. BCI finds it hard to understand how one can claim to be supporting the Catholic Church, yet at the same time be working to reelect a political figure whose “nefarious” policies intrude into the practice of the Catholic faith and also support the killing of the unborn, but we digress, and that is a topic for another post.
In the meantime, if your schedule permits, do plan to attend the rally on Boston Common and the virtual Town Hall Meeting on June 25, and do plan to pray during the Fortnight of Freedom. BCI thinks these are all worthwhile initiatives and hopes to see more information about them in parish bulletins, The Pilot, and elsewhere.