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Evangelicals & Catholics Together: In Defense of Religious Freedom (vs. Islam, Secularism)
First Things ^ | March 2012 | Evangelicals and Catholics Together

Posted on 02/17/2012 12:49:27 PM PST by Mrs. Don-o

Eighteen years ago, this fellowship of Evangelical and Catholic pastors, theologians, and educators was formed to deepen the dialogue among our communities on issues of common concern, to explore theological common ground, and to offer in public life a common witness born of Christian faith.

Since our founding in 1994, we have addressed, together, such important public policy questions as the defense of life, even as we have proposed to our communities patterns of theological understanding on such long-disputed questions as the gift of salvation, the authority of Scripture, and the call to holiness in the communion of saints. We hope that this collaboration has been a service to both Church and society; it has certainly drawn us closer together as brothers and sisters in Christ, and for that we are grateful to the Lord of all mercies.

At the beginning of our common work on behalf of the gospel, it did not seem likely that religious freedom would be one of our primary concerns. The communist project in Europe had collapsed; the commitment of Christian believers to defeat totalitarianism through the weapons of truth had triumphed; and throughout the world, a new era of religious freedom seemed at hand.

We are now concerned—indeed, deeply concerned—that religious freedom is under renewed assault around the world. While the threats to freedom of faith, religious practice, and religious participation in public affairs in Islamist and communist states are widely recognized, grave threats to religious freedom have also emerged in the developed democracies.

In the West, certain religious beliefs are now regarded as bigoted. Pastors are under threat, both cultural and legal, for preaching biblical truth. Christian social-service and charitable agencies are forced to cease cooperation with the state because they will not bend their work to what Pope Benedict XVI has called the “dictatorship of relativism.”

Proponents of human rights, including governments, have begun to define religious freedom down, reducing it to a bare “freedom of worship.” This reduction denies the inherently public character of biblical religion and privatizes the very idea of religious freedom, a view of freedom such as one finds in those repressive states where Christians can pray only so long as they do so behind closed doors. It is no exaggeration to see in these developments a movement to drive religious belief, and especially orthodox Christian religious and moral convictions, out of public life.

Given these circumstances, we offer this statement, In Defense of Religious Freedom, as a service due to God and to the common good. The God who gave us life gave us liberty. The God who has called us to faith asks that we defend the possibility that others may make similarly free acts of faith. By reaffirming the fundamental character of religious freedom, we contribute to the defense of freedom and to human flourishing, in our countries and throughout the world.

In making this statement, we confess, and we call all Christians to confess, that Christians have often failed to live the truths about freedom that we have preached: by persecuting each other, by persecuting those of other faiths, and by using coercive methods of proselytism. At times Christians have also employed the state as an instrument of religious coercion. Even some of the greatest leaders in the history of Christianity failed to live up to their own best ideals.

As the Second Vatican Council’s declaration on religious freedom, Dignitatis Humanae, put it, “In the life of the People of God, as it has made its pilgrim way through the vicissitudes of human history, there has at times appeared a way of acting that was hardly in accord with the spirit of the Gospel or even opposed to it.” It is this memory of Christian sinfulness that gives us all the more reason to defend the religious freedom of all men and women today.

What Religious Freedom Is

As believers in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who reveals himself fully in the Lord Jesus, we find the deepest source of religious freedom in the form or nature of the human person created by God. Human beings have been created with the capacity to know God, the will to seek God, and a spiritual thirst for God. In Genesis 1:26, the Bible teaches us that only human beings are made “in the image of God.” No one bears this image (imago Dei) more than others; no one has the right to assert that by reason of race, tribe, ethnicity, class, or sex his imaging of God is superior to another.

In a world of manifest and innumerable inequalities, this radical equality of all men and women before God is the bond that allows us to speak meaningfully of a human family, a human race, in which we share mutual obligations—including the obligation to recognize and honor that sanctuary of conscience in which each person can meet the divine source of life. Any power, be it cultural or political, that puts unwarranted impediments in the path of the human quest for truth, which culminates in the human quest for God, is violating the order of creation.

These truths have already been stated in several Christian documents:

• In the 1986 Instruction on Christian Freedom and Liberation issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, we read that “God wishes to be adored by people who are free” (no. 44).

• In the National Association of Evangelicals’ 2006 Statement on Religious Freedom, this fundamental freedom is described as “the distinctive characteristic of the American project—what Roger Williams called ‘the livelie experiment.’ . . . It is an inalienable right that precedes the state itself.”

• In the 2010 Cape Town Commitment, Evangelical Christians of the Lausanne Movement declared, “Let us strive for the goal of religious freedom for all people. This requires advocacy before governments on behalf of Christians and people of other faiths who are persecuted.”

Human freedom, and especially religious freedom, reflects God’s design for creation and his pattern of redemption. Religious freedom is thus grounded in the character of God as revealed in the Bible and in the moral structure of the world that we can know through reason. It is precisely as Evangelical and Catholic Christians that we affirm, on the authority of the Bible, religious freedom for all, even as we are prepared to defend religious freedom in public life through arguments drawn from reason.

Religious freedom is a fundamental right. As the American founders put it, it is “unalienable.” Religious freedom is thus a right that exists before the state.

The just state recognizes this right of persons and protects it in law. In doing so, the state recognizes the limits of its own capacity: It cannot coerce consciences; it cannot compel belief. For the state that recognizes and protects religious freedom is not an omnicompetent state, but rather a state that acknowledges the rights of conscience and the prerogatives of the institutions that men and women freely sustain to express and pass on their religious convictions. It recognizes its duty to serve, and not to impede, those communities of civil society. Thus the recognition of religious freedom in full is a crucial barrier to the totalitarian temptation that seems to exist in all forms of political modernity.

In sum, religious freedom has both personal and public dimensions. It is grounded in the dignity of the human person as possessed of a thirst for the truth and a capacity to know it. The state that recognizes religious freedom as inherent and inalienable, a civil right protected by law, thereby acknowledges its incompetence over the sanctuary of human conscience. Religious freedom is fundamental both to the freedom of the individual human person and to the sustaining of just and limited governments.

The Genealogy of Religious Freedom

It is because Evangelicals and Catholics Together confess Jesus Christ as head of the Church and of our consciences that we insist that there can be no compulsion whatsoever in the act of faith. Here, the Lord himself is our witness.

The New Testament, whose basic confession of faith was distilled by the first generation of Christians to the simple affirmation that “Jesus is Lord,” never depicts Jesus the Lord as coercing faith. Quite the contrary: Jesus reasoned with his listeners, instructed them in parables, called them to repent, and invited them to believe the good news of God’s kingdom.

When his disciples asked him to call down fire from heaven to destroy those who refused to receive him, Jesus rebuked them (see Luke 9:52–55). Shortly thereafter, Jesus sent his disciples on a mission with the explicit instruction to respect others’ freedom (see Luke 10:1–12). Even the Risen One, whom the Church confesses as the Lord of the cosmos and of history, speaks of himself as one who invites: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and him with me” (Revelation 3:20).

The first chapters in the history of the Church, the Acts of the Apostles, show the first Christians preaching conversion and demonstrating by the quality of their lives and their witness that God’s Kingdom is “established” by the ministry of the word and the works of the Holy Spirit (see Acts 12:24). They acknowledged the authority and value of the state (see Romans 13) even as they recognized the limits of its reach (see Acts 5:29).

Recognizing the failures of Christians to live in accord with these convictions in the past, we also ask that the history of religious freedom be understood in its full amplitude. The genealogy of religious freedom is a rich and complex one; its story does not begin in modern times. It begins in the Jewish and Christian understanding of human dignity and freedom.

In the fourth century, Lactantius (whom the Renaissance humanists called the “Christian Cicero”) wrote, “Religion cannot be a matter of coercion.” A century later, the greatest of the Latin Fathers of the Church, St. Augustine, wrote in his Commentary on the Gospel of St. John, “When force is applied, the will cannot be aroused. You can be compelled to enter a church against your will; to approach the altar against your will; to receive the sacrament against your will. But you cannot believe against your will. No one can believe except willingly.” The greatest of the medieval theologians, St. Thomas Aquinas, insisted that no one should be compelled to the faith “because to believe depends on the will.”

In his 1523 treatise Temporal Authority: To What Extent It Should Be Obeyed, Martin Luther declared that the state has no authority over the soul, and he demarcated the limits of government in the spiritual realm: “It has laws which extend no further than to life and property and external affairs on earth, for God cannot and will not permit anyone but himself to rule over the soul. Therefore, where the temporal authority presumes to prescribe laws for the soul, it encroaches upon God’s government and only misleads souls and destroys them.”

Luther’s contemporary John Calvin believed that in the face of “overbearing tyranny,” a Christian must “venture boldly to groan for freedom.” He protested the intrusions on the church’s freedoms of assembly and speech.

In early American history, the Puritan dissenter Roger Williams founded the colony of Rhode Island in the conviction that the bloody persecution of men for their religious convictions was “contrary to Scripture.” In the sixth point of his Plea for Religious Liberty (1644), Williams wrote that it is “the will and command of God” that permission be granted to Jews, Muslims, and non-Christians alike in their worship and in the exercise of their consciences, so that the only sword used in matters of the soul should be “the sword of God’s Spirit, the Word of God.”

Just before the American Revolution, the Baptist pastor Isaac Backus grounded his Appeal to the Public for Religious Liberty (1773) in the teaching and example of Jesus, stating that “our Lord has most plainly forbidden us, either to assume or to submit to any such [compulsion] in religion.”

In our own time, the 2010 Lausanne Cape Town Commitment called Christians to “being committed to advocate and speak up for those who are voiceless under the violation of their human rights,” and declared, “Let us strive for the goal of religious freedom for all people. This requires advocacy before governments on behalf of Christians and people of other faiths who are persecuted.”

Finally, the Second Vatican Council, after careful consultation with Protestant observers, summarized and restated many of these themes in Dignitatis Humanae.

We, as Evangelicals and Catholic Together, fully affirm the teaching of this declaration that the human person has a right to religious freedom. This freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups or of any human power, in such wise that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits. . . .This right of the human person to religious freedom is to be recognized in the constitutional law whereby society is governed and thus it is to become a civil right.

Religious Freedom in the Architecture of Democracy

As we have argued, just government recognizes and protects those rights that are built into human nature by God and that can be known by both reason and revelation. The most basic of these fundamental rights is religious freedom, which is most basic because it touches what is deepest in the human spirit: our thirst for the truth, which Christians believe is in fact a thirst for God. Religious freedom, then, grounds the freedom of speech, of assembly, of the press, and all other freedoms. Absent religious freedom, there is no freedom in the deepest meaning of the word. Absent religious freedom, democracy crumbles.

The fundamental human right of religious freedom precludes the establishment of a religion to which all citizens must conform. That is why the First Amendment to the United States Constitution wisely links the free exercise of religion to its prohibition of “laws respecting an establishment of religion.”

The prohibition of an establishment of religion is one crucial means to advance the end of the free exercise of religion. Thus “no establishment” and “free exercise” are not in tension, as much modern jurisprudence understands them to be. Nor does “no establishment” demand a naked public square, shorn of religiously informed moral conviction. The “separation of church and state” is intended to protect freedom for religious conviction; it is not intended to promote religion’s exile from public life.

It is essential for the full expression of religious freedom that believers be welcome, in law and in social custom, to bring their religiously based moral convictions into the ongoing public debate over how we ought to order our common life. Religiously informed moral argument does not establish religion or impose sectarian values on a pluralistic society.

Such charges are undemocratic, for they deny to fellow citizens and religious communities the right to bring the sources of their deepest convictions into public life. For their part, believers often have the resources to make their arguments in the public square in ways that every citizen, irrespective of religious belief or the lack thereof, can engage. Thus we seek neither a naked nor a sacred public square, but a civil public square open to the full range of convictions.

Religious Freedom in Peril

As the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life has noted, Christians face harassment in more countries than any other religious group. In the words of the World Evangelical Alliance, Christians are “the largest single group in the world . . . being denied human rights on the basis of their faith.”

Overt persecution of Christians is widespread in many Islamic societies. Christians are murdered by radical Islamists in churches in Egypt and Iraq. Bibles are not permitted in Saudi Arabia, and the Saudi national curriculum continues to teach students to “kill” Jews and apostates, view Christians as enemies, and spread the Islamic faith through “jihad”—a teaching it promotes by funding the distribution of extremist textbooks throughout the world. In some Islamic states, conversion to another religion is a capital offense.

In Iran, a Christian pastor who refused to recant his faith has been brought to trial for apostasy. In Pakistan, blasphemy laws forbid any criticism, however mild, of Islam. Muslim persecution of Christians is not confined to one area of the world, for these practices can be found in Indonesia and northern Nigeria as well as the Middle East, North Africa, the Persian Gulf, and the Indian subcontinent. Nor is it likely that the “Arab Spring” will lead to a springtime of religious freedom in the Islamic heartland and beyond. Indeed, if radical Islamists come to power, the situation of Christians and other religious minorities will become even more perilous.

Islamic societies are not alone in their persecution of Christians. The remaining communist states in Asia—North Korea, the People’s Republic of China, and Vietnam—and “postcommunist” states such as Belarus, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan restrict religious freedom in their determination to control all aspects of social life. In India, Christians are persecuted by Hindu radicals who burn orphanages and schools for no reason other than their Christian sponsorship; here, too, conversion to Christ can be life-threatening.

Religious freedom is under assault even in countries where the language of human rights is part of the public moral vocabulary. In Canada, for example, Evangelical pastors have been fined by “human rights commissions” for preaching biblical morality in matters of human sexuality. In Great Britain, couples have been denied foster children because of their commitment to teach the young the moral truths inscribed in the Bible. In Poland, a Catholic magazine editor was fined by a court for speaking the truth about abortion. In these and other instances, coercive state power is being deployed to impose a secularist agenda on society while driving religious faith and practice out of public life.

By these and other means, “religious freedom” is reduced to a private lifestyle choice. In Europe and Canada, what amounts to state-established secularism erodes the exercise of full religious freedom by impeding the public witness of Christian communities. It also substantially threatens the free exercise of religious belief in preaching and catechesis.

In the United States, religious freedom is being encroached upon and reduced through the courts, in administrative policy, and in our culture. For example, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), through the office of the solicitor general, recently challenged the longstanding interpretation of the “ministerial exception” to antidiscrimination and other employment laws in Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC. The legal arguments presented by officials from the executive branch of government would have dramatically reduced the constitutional protections that allow Christian communities to choose their ministers according to their own criteria. Fortunately, in a unanimous decision the Supreme Court of the United States affirmed the ministerial exception.

While the Supreme Court has protected the right to determine religious leaders, the capacity of religious believers to form and sustain distinctive institutions is threatened today. The United States Department of Health and Human Services has proposed “preventive services” regulations that require provision of FDA-approved contraceptives, including abortifacients like Ella, and sterilization.

These regulations threaten the religious freedom of insurers, employers, schools, and other religious enterprises that conscientiously oppose contraception and abortion. Limiting conscience protections to those in religious institutions that serve only their own members, as some have proposed, criminalizes the public witness of religious organizations such as Catholic universities and other religious social welfare institutions.

Administrative and regulatory policies pose further threats to religious freedom. Christian doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other health-care providers are being put at professional risk by policies that compel all health-care workers to undertake procedures and provide prescription drugs that many of them regard as immoral.

We also note that the attempt to redefine marriage through coercive state power has already brought pressure to bear on Christian ministers, despite exceptions provided in legislation. Further, in no state where the redefinition of marriage has passed the legislature has the religious institution exception provided all the religious freedom protections needed for individuals and groups that oppose the legalization of same-sex unions in those states.

The Renewal of Religious Freedom

We live in the greatest period of persecution in the history of Christianity. In the twentieth century, noble martyrs like Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Blessed Jerzy Popieuszko gave their lives for Christ amid a cloud of witnesses greater in number than those martyred for the Name in the previous nineteen centuries of Christian history. That witness continues today in the self-sacrifice of men like Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian cabinet officer murdered because of his defense of the religious freedom of all of his fellow Pakistanis.

As Evangelicals and Catholics who seek to honor the witness of these and other martyrs, we pledge to work together for the renewal of religious freedom in our countries and around the world. We will resist the legal pressure brought on Christians in the medical profession, the armed forces, and elsewhere to participate in actions that they deem immoral on the grounds of both faith and reason.

We acknowledge that the state enjoys its own sphere of competence. But we remind the modern democratic state that it is a limited state. We applaud the United States Supreme Court’s decision to sustain the long-held ministerial exception. In the same spirit of concern for religious liberty, we ask that legislators formulate explicit conscience protections for health-care workers. And we counsel legislators to intervene and reverse the coercive efforts at the Department of Health and Human Services and other agencies to mandate health coverage and adoption procedures that will force religious institutions to betray their foundational principles. In these and other areas, we must vigilantly defend religious freedom.

We also join together in asking our federal governments to defend religious freedom in conducting the foreign policy of the United States and Canada. We recognize the complexities into which such a commitment inevitably leads; we also see the evidence of history, which teaches that religiously free societies are better for their people, and safer for the world, than societies in which persecution is culturally and legally affirmed. Thus we call on our public officials to undertake prudent measures to advance the cause of religious freedom in full.

In all of this, we believe we are acting as Christians have been commanded to act, and speaking as citizens of mature democracies ought to speak. Our faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and our baptism in the name of the Most Holy Trinity, compels us to defend the religious freedom of all who are created in the image of God. Our gratitude for the religious freedom that has been a hallmark of North America for over two centuries compels us to work to defend religious freedom in the United States and Canada, and to work for the religious freedom of others in all lands. For the sake of the common good, we, Evangelicals and Catholics Together, urge our fellow citizens and our public officials to join us in the renewal of religious freedom: to defend religious freedom for all persons and to guard against its erosion in our societies.

Evangelical Protestants

Charles Colson
Prison Fellowship

Dale Coulter
Regent University School of Divinity

Joel Elowsky
Concordia University Wisconsin

Timothy George
Beeson Divinity School

Cheryl Bridges Johns
Pentecostal Theological Seminary

Thomas Oden
Eastern University

J. I. Packer
Regent College

Cornelius Plantinga
Calvin Theological Seminary

Sarah Sumner
A. W. Tozer Theological Seminary

Kevin J. Vanhoozer
Wheaton College

John Woodbridge
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

Catholics

Peter Casarella
DePaul University

Gary Culpepper
Providence College

Thomas Guarino
Seton Hall University

Matthew Levering
University of Dayton

David Mills
First Things

Edward T. Oakes, S.J.
Mundelein Seminary of Chicago

R. R. Reno
First Things

George Weigel
Ethics and Public Policy Center

Robert Louis Wilken
Providence College

The substance of In Defense of Religious Liberty is endorsed by the following people.

Daniel Akin
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Gary Anderson
University of Notre Dame

Leith Anderson
National Association of Evangelicals

Hadley Arkes
Amherst College

John C. Cavadini
University of Notre Dame

William T. Cavanaugh
DePaul University

Francesco C. Cesareo
Assumption College

Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.
Archdiocese of Philadelphia

Michael Cromartie
Ethics and Public Policy Center

Lawrence S. Cunningham
University of Notre Dame

Daniel Delgado
Third Day Missions Church

David S. Dockery
Union University

Timothy Cardinal Dolan
Archdiocese of New York

Robert Duncan
Anglican Church in North America

Philip W. Eaton
Seattle Pacific University

Thomas F. Farr
Georgetown University

Douglas Farrow
McGill University

Jim Garlow
Skyline Church

Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I.
Archdiocese of Chicago

Mary Ann Glendon
Harvard Law School

Paul J. Griffiths
Duke Divinity School

Ken Hagerty
Renewing American Leadership

Alec Hill
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship

Kent R. Hill
World Vision

Russell Hittinger
University of Tulsa

Reinhard Hütter
Duke Divinity School

Stanton L. Jones
Wheaton College

Peter A. Lillback
Westminster Theological Seminary

James Liske
Prison Fellowship

Paul R. McHugh
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Wilfred M. McClay
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Michael W. McConnell
Stanford Law School

George D. McKinney
St. Stephen’s Cathedral Church of God in Christ

Gilbert Meilaender
Valparaiso University

Eric Metaxas
Socrates in the City

Stephen D. Minnis
Benedictine College

Jennifer Roback Morse
Ruth Institute

David Neff
Christianity Today

Stephen Noll
Uganda Christian University

Thomas J. Olmsted
Diocese of Phoenix

Daniel Philpott
University of Notre Dame

Tony Perkins
Family Research Council

Timothy Samuel Shah
Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs

Ronald J. Sider
Palmer Theological Seminary at Eastern University

Robert B. Sloan, Jr.
Houston Baptist University

Thomas Joseph White, O.P.
Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC

G. Bryant Wright, Jr.
Right From the Heart Ministries

Institutional affiliation is listed for identification only.


TOPICS: Current Events; Ecumenism; Moral Issues; Religion & Politics
KEYWORDS: catholic; catholics; evangelicals; freedom; hhs; hhsmandate; islam; liberty; religiousfreedom; religiousliberty; secularism; sharia; tyranny
The last paragraph and the first ten signers:

"In all of this, we believe we are acting as Christians have been commanded to act, and speaking as citizens of mature democracies ought to speak. Our faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and our baptism in the name of the Most Holy Trinity, compels us to defend the religious freedom of all who are created in the image of God. Our gratitude for the religious freedom that has been a hallmark of North America for over two centuries compels us to work to defend religious freedom in the United States and Canada, and to work for the religious freedom of others in all lands. For the sake of the common good, we, Evangelicals and Catholics Together, urge our fellow citizens and our public officials to join us in the renewal of religious freedom: to defend religious freedom for all persons and to guard against its erosion in our societies."

Evangelical Protestants

Charles Colson
Prison Fellowship

Dale Coulter
Regent University School of Divinity

Joel Elowsky
Concordia University Wisconsin

Timothy George
Beeson Divinity School

Cheryl Bridges Johns
Pentecostal Theological Seminary

Thomas Oden
Eastern University

J. I. Packer
Regent College

Cornelius Plantinga
Calvin Theological Seminary

Sarah Sumner
A. W. Tozer Theological Seminary

Kevin J. Vanhoozer
Wheaton College

John Woodbridge
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

(followed by a list of Catholics and many others who "in substance" endorse this statement.

1 posted on 02/17/2012 12:49:41 PM PST by Mrs. Don-o
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To: Mrs. Don-o

If only the Evangelicals can figure out how to hold on to the Catholics, when it comes to voting against Obama and the Democrat party, then maybe we can make long term advances.


2 posted on 02/17/2012 1:11:59 PM PST by ansel12 (Romney is unquestionably the weakest party front-runner in contemporary political history.)
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To: ansel12

Jeez, could we have just one thread of unity on this one issue?


3 posted on 02/17/2012 1:41:34 PM PST by D-fendr (Deus non alligatur sacramentis sed nos alligamur.)
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To: D-fendr

Huh?

I want to sustain this unity, I want this to last and include the vote since that is what determines the success or failure of conservative causes and efforts.

I want this temporary merging of the left and right to become permanent, to isolate the Democrats and deprive them of a major part of their base.


4 posted on 02/17/2012 1:48:04 PM PST by ansel12 (Romney is unquestionably the weakest party front-runner in contemporary political history.)
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To: ansel12

We must hang together, or we shall certainly hang separately.

Sound like YOU prefer the latter.


5 posted on 02/17/2012 1:57:49 PM PST by don-o (He will not share His glory and He will NOT be mocked! Blessed be the name of the Lord forever.)
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To: D-fendr
You have to understand that there are people on this forum who are fiscally conservative but who actively oppose religious freedom because it limits their potential sexual conquests.

They will get in your face if you discuss a social issue, and they go right off your tree when you tell them that those issues are non negotiable

6 posted on 02/17/2012 2:03:03 PM PST by MrEdd (Heck? Geewhiz Cripes, thats the place where people who don't believe in Gosh think they aint going.)
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To: don-o

You are reversing what I am saying.

I am saying that this unity needs to be made permanent, permanent in voting conservative of course.

Issues are decided with the vote in this nation, voting conservative will fix and even avoid these type of situations.

Now is an opportunity to help move the Catholic vote to the right if we make it clear that voting against the Democrat party is the permanent solution to these problems.


7 posted on 02/17/2012 2:04:29 PM PST by ansel12 (Romney is unquestionably the weakest party front-runner in contemporary political history.)
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To: ansel12

I just saw it as argumentative rather than unitive. Sorry.

We must remember that foremost of the tactics used by communists and liberal fascists to destroy religion is to pit Protestants against Catholics, and Catholic against Catholic. The more we bear this in mind, the better we can avoid it.

Now, this HHS/Obamacare mandate has created both challenge and opportunity. Perhaps it’s time to re-think our priorities and divisions.

thanks for your reply.


8 posted on 02/17/2012 2:09:57 PM PST by D-fendr (Deus non alligatur sacramentis sed nos alligamur.)
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To: ansel12

Thanks for your post.

It gives me a chance for what’s becoming a central point in this, big picture if you will.

The profound error made, some time back, was to think and authorize government to do charity. This is what has to be walked back, Church, and individuals have to take responsibility this back.

This applies to both Protestant and Catholic. It is a conservative political issue; and, I believe, one we can agree on. But it will not be easy and requires sacrifice and long-term work.

Finally, I’d caution against politicizing religion. This is the goal of our opponents. I know you’re not saying this, but it’s something that is subtle and has to be avoided.


9 posted on 02/17/2012 2:16:53 PM PST by D-fendr (Deus non alligatur sacramentis sed nos alligamur.)
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To: ansel12

How fine it that no evangelicals voted for Obama.

Your comment brings nothing positive in a call for unity. One thing that is quite obvious is that many naive Catholics have had their eyes opened. The last thing needed is to harp on previous mistakes.

That is all.


10 posted on 02/17/2012 2:16:53 PM PST by don-o (He will not share His glory and He will NOT be mocked! Blessed be the name of the Lord forever.)
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To: D-fendr

To me a couple of things dominate my views.

Media bias, and that everything is political, meaning that it was only created or came about because we have voted wrong in the past.

While it is normal for the outrage at this Obama decision to be about religion and the first amendment at first, to conservative activists, it should almost immediately turn us to teaching the voters how their past voting got us here and why they need to make this connection between today’s temporary outrage and the rest of their life of voting.

I just want everyone to vote conservative, then all of these threads could be about other things, to me this is an important political thread, not a religious thread.


11 posted on 02/17/2012 2:25:56 PM PST by ansel12 (Romney is unquestionably the weakest party front-runner in contemporary political history.)
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To: ansel12

I appreciate your points.

Conservative does not necessarily mean religious, though I think it should recognize government has limits because man has inherent rights and ‘inherent’ implies at least transcendent or absolute. Again, not necessarily a ‘religion.’

I, too, wish to end this ‘once and for all’ but I don’t think this is possible in this world with men and finite changing reality. It’s never over.

I think this applies to your point: Religion is a foundation of morality and civilization in history. Our enemies wish to destroy, or ‘remake’ morality and civilization. It is inevitable that they, at the least, neutralize religion.

So, at some point, religion becomes a battleground, inevitably, much as we may not wish it.


12 posted on 02/17/2012 2:34:00 PM PST by D-fendr (Deus non alligatur sacramentis sed nos alligamur.)
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To: don-o
Your comment brings nothing positive in a call for unity. One thing that is quite obvious is that many naive Catholics have had their eyes opened. The last thing needed is to harp on previous mistakes.

This is a site of conservative activists, we are already unified here, I wouldn't think that we would have many naive Catholic, Democrat voters here who need their eyes opened, or who feel like someone is picking on them for voting Democrat all their lives.

It does seem like the place to share a message of more aggressive, effective, Republican proselytism with conservative Catholic activists though, especially to capitalize on this timing of issues, and with two Catholic candidates running.

13 posted on 02/17/2012 2:37:06 PM PST by ansel12 (Romney is unquestionably the weakest party front-runner in contemporary political history.)
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To: D-fendr
The profound error made, some time back, was to think and authorize government to do charity. This is what has to be walked back, Church, and individuals have to take responsibility this back. This applies to both Protestant and Catholic. It is a conservative political issue; and, I believe, one we can agree on. But it will not be easy and requires sacrifice and long-term work. Finally, I’d caution against politicizing religion. This is the goal of our opponents. I know you’re not saying this, but it’s something that is subtle and has to be avoided.

Protestants have always voted against the Democrat in our Presidential races except for 1932, 1936, and 1964.

I don't want to politicize religion at all, but when a single church that is 23% of the population is a solid Democrat voting block in our history, with only a handful of exceptions, then I think that the conservatives in that church need to find out what is happening and how to change it, how do Christian teachings lead to becoming a solid, dependable, Democrat voting block, there must be something that can be fixed, this weeks issue is a glimpse into how perhaps.

I would like conservative Catholics grab on to this attention getting issue and shake up whatever they need to shake up within the Catholic church.

14 posted on 02/17/2012 2:53:55 PM PST by ansel12 (Romney is unquestionably the weakest party front-runner in contemporary political history.)
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To: ansel12

Oremus.


15 posted on 02/17/2012 3:24:56 PM PST by Mrs. Don-o ("A paranoid is someone who knows a little of what's going on." William S. Burroughs)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

There is a root cause, it needs to be discovered and fixed.


16 posted on 02/17/2012 3:35:06 PM PST by ansel12 (Romney is unquestionably the weakest party front-runner in contemporary political history.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

Great article, thanks.


17 posted on 02/17/2012 7:40:17 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: ansel12
Obama won the overall religious vote, 52 percent to 46 percent, reversing President George W. Bush’s 51 percent to 48 percent “values voter” victory over Democratic challenger Sen. John Kerry in 2004. Obama also won the Catholic vote, persuaded young evangelical voters to choose him and began to squeeze shut the so-called “God gap” yawning between religious Democrats and Republicans during the Bush era.

How will the roughly 9.1 million evangelical Christians who voted for Obama vote in the next election? Will Obama's actions compel the 31.2 million evangelicals who didn't vote in the 2008 election to vote next time?

18 posted on 02/17/2012 7:41:58 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Mrs. Don-o
Evangelicals & Catholics Together: In Defense of Religious Freedom (vs. Islam, Secularism)
Catholic priest, pro-life activists arrested outside White House protesting Obama mandate
Obama Contradicted: HHS Banned Consideration of ‘Cost Effectiveness’ in Developing Contraception
BREAKING: Every Single Bishop Has Condemned the Obama/HHS Mandate!
Pro-life nuns: We’re not exempt - Obama mandate would force us ‘to pay for abortion-inducing drugs’

Contraception ruling: Democrats accuse clergy of complicity with GOP at hearing
Catholic League on Sebelius’s admission before a Senate committee
Voris: Obama Able to Neutralize Catholic Resistance Thanks to Bishops’ Past Complicity
Abortion, Contraception and the Church Fathers (Catholic teaching unchanged for 2000 yrs)
Head of U.S. bishops: Obama compromise on mandate ‘a hill of beans’; opposition intensifies
USCCB President: 'Harder and Harder' to Accept Obama's Word
White House Criticizes Bishops, Trumpets Support from CHA, Catholic Charities
Political Science 101: how the White House snookered the USCCB on the 'compromise'
What Did CHA's Carol Keehan Know and When Did She Know It?
Pope Shares Remarks on American Culture with Bishops; Issues Call to Laity By: Msgr. Charles Pope
USCCB President says Obama offered next to nothing; expresses disappointment with Sr. Keehan
Evangelical Leaders Call for Civil Disobedience Against U.S. Government
Liberal Jews Speak Against HHS Mandate
Top nun who supported Obama mandate thanks pro-choice group in private e-mail
Catholic Health Association collaboration with Obama admin on mandate a ‘scandal’: Catholic leader
Obama's revised HHS mandate won't solve problems, USCCB president says
Fr. Frank Pavone: No compromise - the mandate has to go, period
Time To Admit It: The Church Has Always Been Right On Birth Control
Culture with Local Bishops and Issues a Call to the Laity [Ecumenical]
Bishops Reject Obama's 'Accommodation' - President's political hemorrhaging to continue.

HHS Mandate - Nothing Has Changed (Donald Cardinal Weurl)
Obama Chief of Staff: New Pro-Abortion Mandate Here to Stay
WH: We Are Done Negotiating With Catholics
Opponents launch new White House petition rejecting Obama rewrite of birth control mandate
Did the Leaders of the Catholic Church Make a Deal with the Redistributionist Devil?
Archbishop Chaput: HHS mandate insulting and dangerous
Cardinal-Designate Dolan no longer trusts Obama
American Catholicism’s Pact With the Devil
Notre Dame Faculty to Obama: ‘This Is a Grave Violation of Religious Freedom and Cannot Stand’
White House: No More Compromise on Contraception
Obama's anti-religious implosion
Lew: Obama's latest stance on birth-control mandate final, puts issue to rest (CAPTION)
Pat Buchanan: 'Obama is trampling on God's turf' (Video)
W.H. official: Contraceptive rule stands
Obama chief of staff: No more compromise, contraceptive rule is done deal
Bishops Reject White House’s New Plan on Contraception (Obama continues his "War On Religion")
Faith/Pro-Life Leaders to Challenge Mandate by Praying and Risking Arrest in Front of the WH
Catholic Bishops: Don't Revise, Rescind
Obama's contempt for the Constitution
How the Catholic Church Became Cool Overnight

Chuck Colson Reacts to Obama’s “Compromise” on Required Abortion Care for Church Employees
US Bishops: Obama's 'Compromise' Has No Clear Protection...(Needless Government Intrusion)
Protests Continue Over Insurance for Contraception, Abortifacients (Feds Under Increasing Pressure
Bishops to Obama: No dice
Paul VI: “danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities ...”
Michael Moore Goes On Anti-Catholic Twitter Rant, Distorts Contraception Debate
Religious controversy burns Obama again (the rookie Hussein is in WAY over his pay grade)
Another Catholic college vows it will ‘not violate conscience’ on Obama mandate
Lutherans join chorus of voices slamming HHS contraceptive mandate
The Obama HHS 'Compromise' Switches the Tiger for the Lion (Not all Catholics buying Obama's bull)
Hannity on now with Priests, Pastors and Rabbis. Please watch
EDITORIAL: Obama’s free abortion pills
U.S. bishops ‘express concerns’ about Obama mandate ‘accommodation’
What Compromise? This Policy Leaves Religious Liberty in Peril and Planned Parenthood Smiling (Albert Mohler Opinion)
Bishops Renew Call To Legislative Action On Religious Liberty
Southern Baptist leader: Obama gave Christians ‘the dismissive back’ of his hand
Obama's Act of Tyranny
Bishops Were Prepared for Battle Over Birth Control Coverage
'Accounting gimmick' -- Obama compromise still threatens religious liberty, leaders say
Bishops ‘concerned’ over reworded mandate; other Catholic leaders slam as ‘insult to injury’
Obama Bows to Pressure, but His Religious 'Accommodation' Even Worse

Don't Be Deceived! Evil Obama Policy Now Even MORE Evil!
Obama’s Contraceptive 'Compromise' Doesn't Pass the Smell Test ("It doesn't change a thing")
Compromise or Accommodation, it’s still unacceptable. (updated from Catholic Vote)
Pres. Obama’s “Plan B” compromise, Sr. Keehan, and the Magisterium of Nuns
Land Says Obama Mandate Most Anti-Catholic Government Action in 150 Years
Motive, Means and Opportunity: Obama’s Assault on Catholics
(Exempt Catholics) Joe Biden, Bill Daley warned of contraceptive backlash
(Tim) Thomas makes second political statement (Stands With Catholics)
Southern Baptist leader: If Obama mandate isn’t changed, Christians will go to jail
Over 150 congressional leaders demand repeal of HHS mandate
Boehner vows to overturn Obama’s birth control coverage rule
Boehner: Congress to overturn birth control policy if Obama does not reverse course
O'Brien says Archdiocese of Baltimore won't offer birth control coverage
Archbishop of San Francisco says Obama ruling strikes at religious freedom
How Obama Lost the Catholic Vote
‘I am going to stick with fellow Catholics’ in Pres. Obama’s war on Catholics. Wherein Fr. Z rants.
Unholy War
Six Things Everyone Should Know about the HHS Mandate
Santorum: Obama Hostile to Christians
Understanding Oppostion to the HHS Mandate (Part 1): Why the Church Won’t Pay for Contracept

The Bishops Chickens Coming Home to Roost.
65 Orthodox Church bishops call on Obama to ‘rescind’ the ‘unjust’ contraception mandate
Doug Kmiec Writes Obama: 'Friendship Will Not Permit Me to Disregard Duty to Faith and Country'
Catholic Outcry Over Obama Administration's Birth Control Decision Could Factor In Presidential Race
Standing with the Bishops [Catholic Caucus]
Updated: *167* Bishops (More Than 90% of Dioceses) Have Spoken Out Against Obama/HHS Mandate
Outrage!… Military Tells Chaplains What They Can and Can’t Say About HHS/ObamaAssault on Religion
Updated: *153* Bishops (Over 80% of Dioceses) Have Spoken Out Against Obama/HHS Mandate
An Affront Catholics Agree On [Liberal and Conservative Catholics Against Obama Mandate]
Army Silenced Chaplains Last Sunday
Catholic Military Archdiocese & Chaplains interfered with last Sunday by Pres. Obama’s Admin
The Anti-Catholic President v. the Catholic Bishops
Sen. Rubio introduces bill to reverse Obama birth control mandate
Churches balk at birth control rule - Catholics won’t comply, Bishop Kevin Rhoades says
Protestants and Jews declare to White House: We stand with Catholics
Checking the Air Outside [Bp. Zubik's follow up to Obama's “To Hell with You”]
Mohler [Southern Baptist] Says Insurance Mandate Not Just 'Catholic' Issue
An Open Letter to President Barack Obama Concerning Recent Tyranny (With Pictures!)
Lincoln bishop: prepare for 'suffering' under HHS mandate
Bishop David Zubik confronts Obama
Obama’s ‘war on the church’

Pope hits out at 'radical secularism'
‘We Will Not Comply’: Catholic Leaders Distribute Letter Slamming Obama Admin Contraceptive Mandate
‘We Will Not Comply’: Catholic Leaders Distribute Letter Slamming Obama Admin Contraceptive Mandate
Bruskewitz: Fight Insurance Ruling [Sebelius a "bitter, fallen away Catholic"]
Letter from Archbishop John G. Vlazny on the matter of freedom of conscience and decisions by HHS
Bishop Olmsted's Letter to Catholics [Catholic Caucus]
Liberty for the Amish & Quakers but not Catholics. . .
Contraception mandate prompts Peoria bishop to instate St. Michael Prayer (Catholic Caucus)
Phoenix bishop (Olmstead): defy feds on birth control
A letter from Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr concerning HHS edict
Speak honestly: abortion is ‘the killing of tiny human beings in the womb’ – Denver bishop
Bishop [Daniel Jenky] Blasts Secularist Intolerance, Calls For ‘Assertive Action’ to Defend Church
(Pittsburgh Bishop Zubik comments:) HHS delays rule on contraceptive coverage
Dolan: Natural law, not religious preference, dictates all life sacred
Religious leaders blast HHS over contraception mandate
Mandated Contraception, Sterilization: Caesar Demands Church Violate Conscience
OBAMA’S CONTEMPT FOR RELIGIOUS LIBERTY (mandates coverage of sterilization & contraception)
Implications of Obama Admin move to force Cath hospitals to provide contraception and sterilizations
Catholic doctors’ group launches petition against contraception mandate
Contraception mandate tramples religious freedom, US bishops say

19 posted on 02/17/2012 7:43:59 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

Cheerfulness strengthens the heart and makes us persevere in a good life. Therefore the servant of God ought always to be in good spirits.

— St. Philip Neri


25 posted on 02/17/2012 10:13:29 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: ansel12; Salvation

Thanks for your reply. I hope to give it a serious look in reply. The question is why some Catholics do not vote for the GOP candidate, or, party aside, the more conservative candidate.

Studies have shown that the more a Catholic practices his faith, the more conservative he/she votes. Among the reasons are sanctity of life, family, marriage, personal responsibility, morality. Religious issues, issues of deep values of what is right and good and true.

So, in this regard, looking only at the political vote, the answer to your wish is for Catholics to be more Catholic.

To me this is obvious: someone who does not take their faith seriously or has not yet understood the truth and goodness inherent in the love of Christ through His Church or is caught up in the glamor of satan in this relativistic individualistic selfish culture or has, through no fault of their own, not been taught real values by family, society or church… they neither live the Church nor uphold Her values in person or in politics.

But taking the same person and magically making them not-Catholic does nothing insofar as your limited focus here on voting.

And, neither would taking a liberal gay-marriage, big-government Episcopalian or Lutheran and making them Catholic change their vote.

My point in general is that Christ is truth and goodness; conservative principles recognize truth and maximize goodness. Natural law is both a religious value and a conservative value.

And, whether we are Catholic, Protestant or Jew, we share these values. It is most important that we do so publicly, in unity, at this time.

I hope you can see, understand and join in this unity.

thanks again for your reply.


26 posted on 02/18/2012 12:07:48 AM PST by D-fendr (Deus non alligatur sacramentis sed nos alligamur.)
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To: D-fendr

Think of this little dream scenario.

Catholic Gingrich wins, the kind of warrior type Catholic that knows how (and wants to) outreach to Hispanics, I think that he also has that American conservative, ex Southern Baptist toughness that I would like to see with conservative Catholics, and I think that he would try to make sure that all Catholics start seeing their vote as expressing their faith in political matters and cultural life.

Newt’s veep choice being the conservative, gun toting, Hispanic Catholic, Governor of New Mexico, who thinks Romney is too liberal,and one of Palin’s mama grizzlies, Governor Susana Martinez.

I think this problem with the Catholic vote, would be cured by 16 years of those two.

I have to fit President Palin in there somewhere, but the point is that we can change all this.


27 posted on 02/18/2012 12:49:05 AM PST by ansel12 (Romney is unquestionably the weakest party front-runner in contemporary political history.)
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To: ansel12
The root cause, it seems to me, is the failure to teach genuine Catholic social justice (which includes a respect for private initiative, private property, private responsibility, economic liberty, and subsidiaity ---which is the opposite of Statism).

Also the failure to teach genuine Catholic sexual morality. I could go into greater detail, but this isn't the place for that essay.

The blame rests on ALL Catholic teachers: Bishops, pastors, academics, educators, parents. We have all contributed to this deficiency. There's a mea culpa somewhere in there for me.

But we can repent, renew, and regain lost ground. And that's exactly what we must do.

28 posted on 02/18/2012 5:17:06 AM PST by Mrs. Don-o (The Holy Catholic Church: the more Catholic it is, the more Holy it is.)
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