Heathens Beware; Catholic Bishops Call on Flocks to “Intensify Their Prayers & Fasting” in Preparation of a “Fortnight for Freedom”
Catholic Bishops from across the United States have issued a statement urging the faithful to focus “all the energies the Catholic community can muster” to fight back against what they claim to be an attack on religious freedom.
The coalition of Bishops agree that their right to freedom of religion has been threatened by intrusive laws which restrict certain traditions. Among the list of examples are notations of law suits about women’s reproductive health, immigration, and same-sex adoption rights.
On the issue of reproductive health, the statement asserts that federal funds going towards any form of contraception or abortion is an attack on religious individuals who hold opposing views to the preventive measures. In this I can agree slightly, as I feel any federal funding of war/militarism is an attack on those of us who would rather put our resources to productive use.
This is not even a matter of whether contraception may be supported by the government. Instead, it is a matter of whether religious people and institutions may be forced by the government to provide coverage for contraception or sterilization, even if that violates their religious beliefs.
I was surprised to find myself agreeing with the church’s stance on human rights for immigrants. The Bishops point out that some states have recently passed laws that would forbid the church from offering refuge, or any other service to individuals who are undocumented in the country. I take the stance that as humans, we should have the freedom to travel this planet as we please. As we say in Oakland, “No nations, no borders. Fuck law & order!”
State immigration laws. Several states have recently passed laws that forbid what the government deems “harboring” of undocumented immigrants—and what the Church deems Christian charity and pastoral care to those immigrants. Perhaps the most egregious of these is in Alabama, where the Catholic bishops, in cooperation with the Episcopal and Methodist bishops of Alabama, filed suit against the law:
It is with sadness that we brought this legal action but with a deep sense that we, as people of faith, have no choice but to defend the right to the free exercise of religion granted to us as citizens of Alabama. . . . The law makes illegal the exercise of our Christian religion which we, as citizens of Alabama, have a right to follow. The law prohibits almost everything which would assist an undocumented immigrant or encourage an undocumented immigrant to live in Alabama. This new Alabama law makes it illegal for a Catholic priest to baptize, hear the confession of, celebrate the anointing of the sick with, or preach the word of God to, an undocumented immigrant. Nor can we encourage them to attend Mass or give them a ride to Mass. It is illegal to allow them to attend adult scripture study groups, or attend CCD or Sunday school classes. It is illegal for the clergy to counsel them in times of difficulty or in preparation for marriage. It is illegal for them to come to Alcoholic Anonymous meetings or other recovery groups at our churches.
The Bishops go on to claim that their freedoms were trampled on in four states after Catholic adoptive services lost contracts with the government after refusing to comply with equality laws which made the option of adoption open to same-sex couples as well as opposite-sex couples who were not married. In my opinion, the religious groups should not have had contracts with the government in the first place, and if you as a public service refuse to serve the public, then you should no longer reap the governmental benefits that came along with the contract.
Catholic foster care and adoption services. Boston, San Francisco, the District of Columbia, and the state of Illinois have driven local Catholic Charities out of the business of providing adoption or foster care services—by revoking their licenses, by ending their government contracts, or both—because those Charities refused to place children with same-sex couples or unmarried opposite-sex couples who cohabit.
To combat the counter religious insurgency, the Bishops are calling for “a fortnight for freedom” across America. Religious freedom fighters are expected to be out in force from June 21 to July 4 in observance of a “special period of prayer, study, catechesis, and public action.” The church is calling on an “intensification of your prayers and fasting for a new birth of freedom in our beloved country.”
In my view, there is absolutely no real attempts to prevent citizens from practicing their choice of religion in this country, nor should there be. It seems to me that the Catholic church is loosing it’s grip over the sheeple who are beginning to realize that maybe they don’t need an ancient rule book and a room full of old men to dictate what is right or wrong. Religious zealots and ideology are responsible for more death and conflict than any other entity in history, and it’s never ending crusade of hate should and will remain under attack by those of us who have experienced it’s dark side first hand.
I absolutely believe in the right of individuals to freedom of thought and expression, which is why I despise religion.