March 6, 2016

The Extent to Which Our Religious Liberty is in Jeopardy, Part 2

The Statue of Liberty weeping

With Justice Antonin Scalia's passing, a reliable defender of religious liberty has departed from the Supreme Court. The current president, who stands to name his replacement, has been less than amenable to expressions of Catholicism. During the October 2013 government shutdown, Catholic military chaplains who said Mass faced arrest. The White House asked Georgetown University to cover all religious symbols [i.e. the monogram "IHS”–symbolizing the name of Jesus] at a venue where the president spoke. Bishop Robert Barron in his article "No Room for Catholics in Obama Country", examines the Obama administration's push for radical secularization at the expense of religious institutions:
In short, the slow but steady creep toward secularization of Catholic health-care has already been, for some time, a reality. But now the process has been given a massive push by the Obama administration's recent mandate that all health-care agencies and institutions must pay for insurance that covers contraception, sterilization, and certain kinds of abortifacient drugs-all of which are repugnant to Catholic teaching.
Here is what is particularly worrisome: the state seems no longer satisfied with a slow but steady evolution toward secularity; it is aggressively forcing Catholic hospitals off the stage, for it is creating for them an impossible situation. If they cave in and provide insurance for these verboten procedures, they have effectively de-Catholicized themselves; and if they refuse to provide such insurance, they will be met with fines of millions of dollars, which they cannot possibly pay. 
In light of the above examples, the current chief executive will likely nominate someone who cares little for religious freedom or the rights of believers. Given the increasing attacks on Christianity and expressions of Christian faith in the public square by those occupying "the commanding heights of the culture", [i.e. academia, the media, Hollywood, et al.] Justice Scalia’s passing is all the more concerning. Let us pray that the freedoms the late justice labored so courageously to preserve will be protected and endure. St. Thomas More pray for us. 

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