As this email goes out, I will be speaking along with several others at the Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally on Capitol Hill. One of over 150 similar events held around the United States today, the Washington, D.C. event will end with a march to the Supreme Court, and a prayer that truth and freedom prevail during this crisis for religious freedom in our nation.
The battle lines are drawn, and the arguments are familiar to us now. Although the Catholic Church was intentionally selected as the enemy in a false “war on women,” all faithful Christians now recognize that the threat is really not only against Catholics, but against all people of faith, and our most fundamental freedoms. The First Amendment, which states, in part, that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” is itself under attack.
This destructive political strategy is backfiring as Christians all over the country are waking up to the true nature of the threat. The Obama administration has used an issue that should have united the nation, the reform of a broken health care system, as a means to force Catholic institutions to pay for abortion-causing drugs, contraception and sterilization — services which the Church cannot support. Health care reform is also being used to divide the nation and reverse Constitutional freedoms that are the basis of our nation’s laws and prosperity, and the envy of much of the world.
It has been encouraging to see the strong and clear leadership of so many of the Catholic bishops, and we gladly welcome the solidarity of our Protestant brothers and sisters. It has also been deeply edifying to receive messages of concern and support from those around the world who wonder what will happen to the United States if it rejects the freedom of religion.
We are determined not to find out what will happen if this fundamental freedom is abolished, which is why we are in this fight now. Of course, we will join in rallies, we will raise our voices and we will make sure that everyone knows the importance of their vote in November. But we also have a power that goes beyond these worldly obligations — the power of prayer.
Our God gave us the only true freedom that we have. We’re made in His image, after all, and we’re also made to be with Him — to freely choose to be with Him by living in accordance with His law. This is what authentic freedom is: the freedom to choose the good. It isn’t license to choose whatever feels good and to pretend that there will be no consequences. The choice to turn away from God, to sin, ultimately enslaves, and thus is not authentic freedom. And freedom certainly isn’t served by forcing anyone to act against his or her well formed conscience with unjust laws. As St. Augustine taught so long ago, a law that is not in accordance with the law of God and nature — that is, an unjust law — has no claim on our obedience.
We pray with renewed urgency and focus, and we pray in solidarity. Prayer is by far the most powerful weapon we have in this fight for freedom, and it is necessary if we are to ultimately succeed.
And so, I have a challenge for you.
I am asking you to commit to praying with the pro-life missionaries of Human Life International, for the defense of the freedom of religion. I asking you to commit to praying one rosary per day during the “Fortnight for Freedom,” a two-week effort called for by our bishops to unite in prayer and action in defense of religious freedom, from June 21 – July 4. I’m also asking you to share this with friends, to have them join us in prayer that people of faith be free to live their faith in freedom.
Will you join us? Will you stand in solidarity with the US bishops, with our missionaries around the world, and with those in your community in this unprecedented effort? For HLI’s part, we are hoping to reach a total of 1 million rosaries, so we need everyone to help spread the word, and to pray for the intercession of our Blessed Mother, for authentic freedom to be defended here and around the world.
We can win this battle! And a win here will send a message to the world – this is really a fight for all of us who have the right not only to worship, but to be free to live our faith consistently in our workplaces and in the public square, without compromise.
Please join us in prayer during this Fortnight for Freedom and share this invitation with friends!
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Father Shenan J. Boquet
President, Human Life International
P.S. When you visit HLI’s webpage to take our Rosary pledge, you will also find many helpful resources from the USCCB to help with Fortnight for Freedom events in your community. http://www.hli.org/