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Religious Freedom

“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.”

Protesters at the March 23, 21012 Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally in Cincinnati.

Freedom of religion is a the very first right guaranteed in the Constitution. Actions by the current administration threaten religious freedom for all. This page is dedicated to using the freedom of the press to share resources explaining “our first, most cherished liberty,” and to defending it through our freedom of speech, freedom to peaceably assemble, and freedom to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. Below are links to web sites dedicated to the subject. Click on the title to go to the site.

Protesters assembling in the rain at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains March 23, 2012.

Our First, Most Cherished Liberty

A Document from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) outlining religious liberty issues with the United STates government and calling for a “Fortnight of Freedom” leading up to the Fourth of July, 2012.

USCCB Religious Liberty Resources

This site from the US bishops includes documents, transcripts of testimony and speeches to Congress, links to videos and editorial, and more.

FirstAmericanFreedom

Launched by the USCCB just before the 2012 election, this web site includes much of the same information on the main USCCB site, but all in one place, and includes a box to sign up for religious freedom updates by text or email.

Call To Prayer For Life, Marriage, And Religious Liberty

A resource page for 2013 by the USCCB on the Bishops’ five-prong strategy of prayer and repentance for every parish in the United States.

Preserve Religious Freedom!

This section of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s web site includes letters from Archbishop Dennis Schnurr, background links, downloadable bulletin inserts and other resources, and liturgical/prayer resources for parishes.

Our Religious Liberty

A website set up by Bishop Roger Foys for the Diocese of Covington, this includes a letter from Bishop Foys, details about particular observances in the diocese (such as designating Fridays as special days of prayer and penance) and a collection of general links and documents about the HHS mandate, religious liberty, and information about special area events.

Religious Freedom

Set up by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, this roundup page includes links to documents, background information, and action items on the HHS Mandate. A frequently updated “latest news” page includes dozens of links to stories about the issue. The Indianapolis is currently without an Archbishop, but a brief statement from the Indiana Catholic Conference (the Indiana bishops) linking to USCCB sites is included.

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty

A non-profit legal group that defends religious liberties in the United States and around the world, The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty has put together a “HHS Mandate Information Central” web page listing all the religious freedom suits against the government, their  plaintiffs and contacts, legal documents available online, and more.

American Center for Law and Justice

A public-interest law firm that handles religious liberty, freedom of speech, and other constitutional law issues, the ACLJ is handling the HHS case filed in January 2013 by Sidney, OH, produce companies Freshway Foods and Freshway Logistics, owned by a Catholic family.

Thomas More Society

The Thomas More Society is a national public interest law firm based in Chicago. It provides legal services to people and organizations involved in suits about life, marriage, and religious liberty and has handled the cases of hundreds of pro-life organizations, Catholic bishops and schools, and others. It is handling several important HHS cases.

The Thomas More Law Center

The non-profit Thomas More Law Center provides legal services to people and organizations fighting for traditional Judeo-Christian values including a strong national defense, freedom of religion for Christians, and the sanctity of life. It is handling several important HHS cases.

Stand Up for Religious Freedom

A coalition of prolife groups organized three nationwide rallies for religious freedom in 2012.  The website includes links to allied groups, FAQs, downloadable flyers and fact sheets, suggestions for immediate actions, and more. You can also sign up for alerts and updates by email, Twitter or Facebook.

FAQ on the Defense of Marriage from the USCCB

The insurance mandate from the US Department of Health and Human Services is only one of the current incursions on religious freedom from the US government. This FAQ page explains issues related to attempts to redefine marriage.

The Manhattan Declaration on Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberty

Written in 2009, the Declaration is meant to unite Catholic, Evangelical, and Orthodox Christians behind three principles and has been signed by many bishops and prominent religious leaders. You can read and sign the declaration online, follow a blog and links to related stories, and find ministries to support. Religious liberty is not the primary focus of the Manhattan Declaration project, but the project depends on religious liberty for its existence.

Letter to HHS from the Knights of Columbus  

Written in June 2012, this letter explains why the HHS Mandate violates religious freedom, asks for its repeal, and suggests what changes can be made to it if the HHS refuses to repeal it.

Coaltion of African-American Pastors

A coalition of more than 1,300 Christian pastors, CAAP is dedicated to faith and family issues, particularly marriage. A page of their site allows people of goodwill of all races and faiths to be part of their organization.

CatholicVote.org

This national Catholic political action site focuses on traditionally Catholic approaches to political issues including the economy, the sanctity of human life, marriage and family, national defense, and health care. Like many Catholic teachings themselves, these approaches do not neatly fit into “liberal” and “conservative” definitions and may be seen as “liberal” by conservatives, and “conservative” by liberals. Given the current political climate, most would probably be seen as conservative. Pages include reference information, action issues, and a popular group blog.

Religious Liberties Novena

Originally set for Sept. 29 – Oct. 7 of 2012, this “Novena to the Mother of God for the Nation” was created for EWTN by Fr. Frank Miller, STD, and broadcast by EWTN. A different bishop celebrated Mass and led prayer for each of the nine days. Download a copy of the booklet to pray the novena yourself at any time.

The Constitution of the United States of America

Text only, with amendments and topical index.

Protesters at Dayton’s Stand Up for Religious Liberty Rally March 23, 2012.

Prayer for Religious Liberty by the USCCB

Almighty God, Father of all nations,

For freedom you have set us free in Christ Jesus.

We praise and bless you for the gift of religious liberty,

the foundation of human rights, justice, and the common good.

Grant to our leaders the wisdom to protect and promote our liberties;

By your grace may we have the courage to defend them, for ourselves and for all those who live in this blessed land.

We ask this through the intercession of Mary Immaculate, our patroness,

and in the name of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, with whom you live and reign, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Previous Stories

To browse all our previous stories covering religious liberty issues, including guest posts, click on “Religious Liberty” in the bottom menu.

“The Catholic Church in America is blessed with an immense number of writers, producers, artists, publishers, filmmakers, and bloggers employing all the means of communications—both old and new media—to expound and teach the faith. They too have a critical role in this great struggle for religious liberty. We call upon them to use their skills and talents in defense of our first freedom.” – The USCCB, Our First, Most Cherished Liberty