“The Attack on Religious Freedom in the United States of America”

Joining in peaceful prayer Thursdays in Attleboro.
“The Attack on Religious Freedom in the United States of America”

by Rev. Fr. Kevin Joseph Beaton, S.F.O.

Delivered at the Rally for Religious Freedom, 8 June 2012 at Lee Plaza , Roanoke, Virginia

Anyone who reads the Catechism of the Catholic Church (promulgated by Pope John Paul II in October of 1992) knows that, in the eyes of the Church, contraception (CCC 2370), sterilization (CCC 2297, 2399) and abortion (CCC 2270-2275) are regarded as serious moral evils. That teaching, in the area of sexual ethics, was not new in the early 1990’s. For example, the doctrine on contraception set forth on behalf of married couples by Pope Pius XI (Encyclical Casti Connubii, 1930) was reaffirmed by Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae in 1968.

Why, then, would the Catholic Church in her efforts to evangelize the culture undermine her own teaching with respect to non-Catholic employees who work at Catholic institutions, such as colleges and universities, hospitals and day-care centers, nursing homes and soup kitchens? The answer, of course, is that the Catholic Church does not promote two different moral codes: one for her own members and another for non-Catholics.

It is both amazing and disturbing that the United States Department of Health and Human Services, in its mandate of January 20, 2012, is trying to force Catholic Christians and others to compromise our consciences as regards contraception, sterilization and abortion-causing drugs. Have our leaders in Washington, D.C. forgotten the meaning of the word “complicity”? It is an important word found in criminal law and in moral theology. Complicity has to do with being a partner in wrongdoing. For example, a person who provides money for an abortion is complicit in the same evil as the one who seeks the abortion and the one who performs the abortion.

How is it possible, in this “land of the free and the home of the brave,” that faith based communities are being threatened by the federal government for not making a mockery of our beliefs, for not giving to Caesar what belongs to God? The 1st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America declares, in part, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” If, however, we have arrived at a point in our history where Catholic Christians, Orthodox Christians, Protestant Christians, Jewish congregations and other religious entities can be coerced into going against our convictions in order to satisfy an arbitrary federal mandate touching upon insurance coverage, then the Constitution shall be rendered null and void in the matter of religious freedom and people of faith shall be turned into second class citizens.

Dear brothers and sisters in the Lord, dear fellow Americans, our founding fathers who gave us The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution knew how to go to their knees and pray for this nation, this one nation under God; let us also kneel and pray. May God bless you and your families: God bless the U.S.A. Amen.