Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Fortnight for Freedom

A Fortnight for Freedom
by David Trumbull -- June 22, 2012

Intolerance -- official state-sponsored intolerance -- is on the rise in American to an extent not seen since the heyday of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s or even the period of the "Know Nothings" in the mid 1800s. America's Catholic bishops have characterized the Obamacare HHS mandate as unconstitutional. It is unconstitutional.

On Friday, June 8th, several hundred of us gathered on Boston Common to rally against the mandate's unconstitutional interference with the free exercise of religion. We were Catholics, Protestants, Jews, and even a few non-believers who understood that the issue is not the Church's teaching on sexuality, but our Constitutional freedom as Americans to practice religion, or no religion, unimpeded by unjustifiable government intrusion,

The Catholic bishops have called for the fourteen days from June 21st to July 4th to be dedicated as “fortnight for freedom.” and have issued the following Q & A to explain what is at issue.

"What do we mean by religious liberty?

"Religious liberty is the first liberty granted to us by God and protected in the First Amendment to our Constitution. It includes more than our ability to go to Mass on Sunday or pray the Rosary at home. It also encompasses our ability to contribute freely to the common good of all Americans.

"What is the First Amendment?

"The First Amendment of the U.S. Bill of Rights states the following: “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.”

"What does “shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” mean?

"This phrase, known as the “Establishment Clause,” started out as a prohibition on Congress’ either establishing a national religion or interfering with the established religions of the states. It has since been interpreted to forbid state establishments of religion, to forbid governmental preference (at any level) of one religion over another, and to forbid direct government funding of religion.

"What does “prohibiting the free exercise thereof” mean?

"This phrase, known as the “Free Exercise Clause,” generally protects citizens and institutions from government interference with the exercise of their religious beliefs. It sometimes mandates the accommodation of religious practices when such practices conflict with federal, state, or local laws."

Obviously the bishops know the Constitution, which is more than we can say for our "constitutional scholar" President.

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