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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Fortnight for Freedom:
Standing Up for Religious Freedom

Fortnight for Freedom
Tomorrow begins the second annual Fortnight for Freedom, which was initiated by the US Bishops. According to the USCCB the purpose of the Fortnight for Freedom is to promote:
[A] two-week period of prayer and action, to address many current challenges to religious liberty, including the August 1, 2013 deadline for religious organizations to comply with the HHS mandate, Supreme Court rulings that could attempt to redefine marriage in June, and religious liberty concerns in areas such as immigration and humanitarian services.
Threats to Freedom
The USCCB cites a list of threats to freedom. We are already seeing infringements take place and more are likely in the near future. In just last year and half we've seen a court rule that a Catholic diocese cannot enforce its moral criteria (not to mention the employment contract) in the hiring and firing of teachers. We've recently heard of the IRS targeting Catholic speakers and possibly Catholic institutions. The HHS mandate deadline (August 1st) for religious organizations to comply is looming.

According to Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett, the keynote speaker at the National Religous Freedom Award Dinner, the threats are real:
There is no doubt that religious freedom faces extraordinary and novel challenges that grow out of increasing and aggressive secularism, coupled with fundamental redefinitions of core social institutions. These changes are putting some religious communities on a collision course with newly emerging social concurrences on matters of morality, equality and how we define fundamental civil and human rights.