Cardinal Dolan: Cannot Rest When Faced with so Grave a Threat to Religious Liberty

Cardinal Timothy Dolan by Deacon Keith Fournier –
“If the government can, for example, tell Catholics that they cannot be in the insurance business today without violating their religious convictions, where does it end? This violates the constitutional limits on our government, and the basic rights upon which our country was founded. Much remains to be done. We cannot rest when faced with so grave a threat to the religious liberty for which our parents and grandparents fought. In this moment in history we must work diligently to preserve religious liberty and to remove all threats to the practice of our faith in the public square.” (Cardinal Timothy Dolan)

NEW YORK, NY (Catholic Online) – Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, recently returned from Rome, is continuing to provide clear and courageous leadership to the Catholic Church in the United States. We are facing one of the greatest struggles in our history.

We offer below the full text of a letter which was sent on Ash Wednesday, from Cardinal Dolan, to his brother Bishops. It is co-signed by another heroic figure in this critical hour, Bishop William Lori, the Chairman of the Bishops Committee for Religious Liberty. [Read more...]

What the Bible Teaches About Capitalism

Ten Commandments envy corrosive shall not covetby Aryeh Spero –
As the Ten Commandments instruct, envy is corrosive to the individual and to those societies that embrace it.

More than any other nation, the United States was founded on broad themes of morality rooted in a specific religious perspective. We call this the Judeo-Christian ethos, and within it resides a ringing endorsement of capitalism as a moral endeavor.

Regarding mankind, no theme is more salient in the Bible than the morality of personal responsibility, for it is through this that man cultivates the inner development leading to his own growth, good citizenship and happiness. The entitlement/welfare state is a paradigm that undermines that noble goal.

The Bible’s proclamation that “Six days shall ye work” is its recognition that on a day-to-day basis work is the engine that brings about man’s inner state of personal responsibility. Work develops the qualities of accountability and urgency, including the need for comity with others as a means for the accomplishment of tasks. With work, he becomes imbued with the knowledge that he is to be productive and that his well-being is not an entitlement. And work keeps him away from the idleness that Proverbs warns leads inevitably to actions and attitudes injurious to himself and those around him. [Read more...]

The First and Foremost Freedom, Freedom of Religion

Christian persecution, loss of religious liberty America by Chuck Colson –
I’ve been talking a lot lately about the Obama Administration’s relentless attempts to restrict religious freedom.

You know by now that the Catholic bishops have strongly rejected the president’s so-called “accommodation” to exempt religious organizations from paying for abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization.

Good for the bishops. What the president outlined changed nothing: religious organizations will still have to provide insurance that covers services that violate their religious beliefs, even if they don’t have to pay for them directly.

Now why does this matter? Why is it really such a big deal? The Administration is hoping you will think this is all about contraception, which not many people, even the majority of Catholics, care that much about. But this is not about contraception. This battle is all about religious freedom—the first and most important of all our freedoms. [Read more...]

Empty Buildings, NYC Kicks Churches out of Schools

Chuck Colson

Chuck Colson

by Chuck Colson –
It’s no secret that Christianity has been unwelcome in public schools for a long time. But recently New York City’s government took an unprecedented step by forcing around 60 churches to vacate sanctuaries they pay to use.

Why? Because Monday through Friday, those sanctuaries also happen to be classrooms.

This deadline was set back in December, when the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of the 2nd Circuit’s decision upholding the City’s crass discrimination against communities of faith. New York at this time is the only major city in the nation to ban religious services in its school buildings. But this precedent does not bode well for what may happen in other cities.

The reasoning behind this decision was ludicrous. In his ruling, Circuit Judge Pierre Leval claimed that renting school property to churches implies “an unintended bias in favor of Christian religions,” that makes public schools look like “state-sponsored Christian churches…but not synagogues or mosques.” [Read more...]

The Time Is Now, Defend Religious Liberty for All

Chuck Colson

Chuck Colson

by Chuck Colson –
Folks, we have reached the point where Christians may be called to actively defy the government of the United States. This is a shocking and sobering statement, but I’m sorry to say it’s true.

If you’ve read the Manhattan Declaration–and I pray you have read it and signed it—you’ll know that we predicted this time would come. We just had no idea it would come so soon.

As you know by now, Obama Administration has refused to grant religious organizations an exemption from purchasing health insurance that covers abortion-inducing drugs, surgical sterilization, and contraception.

The Catholic bishops responded quickly, decrying the Administration’s decision for what it is—an egregious, dangerous violation of religious liberty. [Read more...]

True Ecumenism, Christians United Against Obama’s HHS Mandate

The American Catholic True Ecumenism by Donald R. McClarey –
I must confess that I have never been a great fan of Ecumenism, as a drive for greater Christian unity, as it has played out in the Catholic Church since Vatican II.  Too often it has resulted in “dialogues” with non-Catholic faiths that seek to paper over theological chasms that divide us from them.  If the price of Ecumenism is any watering down of the Catholic Faith, please count me out.

However, there is a true Ecumenism which I interpret as the banding together of people of different faiths to accomplish some great good in the name of God.  A striking example of what I am referring to was the action of the four chaplains of the USS Dorchester on January 22, 1943, a Catholic priest, two Protestant ministers, and a Jewish rabbi, who gave up their life jackets so other men could live, and died together, arms linked, praising God to the end.  Go here to read their story. [Read more...]

The Contraception Edict: An Assault on Liberty

American Spectator - Contraception Edict: An Assault on Liberty by Robert M. Goldberg –
We’re seeing Obamacare’s future and how it works.
The Obama administration’s decision to force religious institutions to cover contraception is a case study on how Obamacare and its implementation have politicized medical decisions. Here’s how it works. First, health care choices are overruled if they do not flow from the state and do not require taking rights from one group to give to another in the name of fairness. Next, the same administrative apparatus engages in politicking and deal making to appease groups angered by the original decision.

The contraception mandate was issued unilaterally and without regard to the deep feeling and anger it would generate. Now the administration is rhetorically backpedaling and seeking to find a way to respond to the quickly spreading attacks on the action. Claims to the contrary, this was and is not about assuring all women have access to contraception. It was about eliminating the choices and overruling the preferences of one group to enforce the “rights” of another. [Read more...]

Outrageous Choice: Religious Freedom or Healthcare?

Chuck Colson

Chuck Colson

by Chuck Colson –
I’ve told you that the Obama Administration is intentionally restricting religious freedom. I’ve told you we are in danger of losing the right to exercise our faith in public.

Well, maybe I’ve been too understated. The attack is relentless.

Just recently, the Obama Administration announced that the Affordable Healthcare Act, otherwise known as ObamaCare, requires that employers pay for contraception, including abortifacients, and that Catholic institutions are not exempt from this requirement.

Well, Catholic Bishop David Zubik of Pittsburgh and other bishops are blowing the trumpets on the ramparts. And my hat’s off to them. They see the Administration’s actions for what they truly are. [Read more...]

The Case for Ron Paul

Constitution Better Than Marx by Jason McNew –
Ron Paul, a physician, has earned himself the name “Dr. No” by refusing to vote for any bill which assumes powers other than those given in Article I, Section VIII of the Constitution. When one takes a sober look at our country today, it’s easy to see why Dr. Paul would behave this way.

Take note that there is no authority in the Constitution for the setting of interest rates (as the Federal Reserve does) — interference which led directly to the housing bubble (which Ron Paul predicted). Despite U.S. participation in several sizable wars, Congress has not bothered itself with actually declaring war since 1942 (on Romania). There is no authority to bail out banks, intervene in labor disputes, subsidize farming, regulate health insurance, or set educational policies. Every one of these unauthorized activities drives costs up (or drives prosperity down) and ultimately hurts average Americans. Americans are realizing that most of our social and economic ills can be traced to a failure to follow our own Constitution. Ron Paul has always been a strict, unapologetic Constitutionalist. How Ron Paul would govern as president can be envisioned by simply reading Article II of the Constitution (The Executive Branch.) [Read more...]

Theology of Play

Christ Water into Wine icon Orthodox by Jonathan Hayward –
Most of Christianity that I’ve come into contact with has a well developed theology of work; sometimes called the Protestant Work Ethic, it is summarized in the verse, “Whatever you do, do it heartily, as if unto the Lord.” (Col. 3:23). A mature Christian is characterized by hard work, and I do not wish to detract from that, but there is a counterpart to theology of work: theology of play.

It would probably be easier to defend a point of doctrine involving great self sacrifice – that a Christian should be so loyal to Christ that the prospect of being tortured and killed for this devotion is regarded as an honor, that a Christian should be willing to serve in boring and humiliating ways, that a Christian should resist temptation that takes the form of an apparent opportunity for great pleasure – but I will still state and explain this point: a Christian should be joyful, and furthermore that this joy should express itself in play and celebration. [Read more...]

What the Pilgrims Can Teach Us about Economic Freedom

Thanksgiving Freedom Economic Freedom Economic Freedom –
The Pilgrims struggling to survive at Plymouth Plantation learned the importance of private property first-hand in 1623 when Governor Bradford adopted a free-enterprise system after just two years of communal sharing. Their experiment with socialism revealed valuable lessons that inspired the colony to shift to a free-market economic system that would serve as the foundation upon which America would grow into a great and prosperous nation.

As the Pilgrims learned, societies that respect property and the rule of law capture the benefits of free-market enterprise and enjoy high levels of prosperity. The benefit that we see from free markets is contingent on individuals having the right to own and protect property and to benefit from their labor. [Read more...]

Finding America: Our History Flows From our Belief in Self-Evident Truths

America Freedom Creed Truths by Peg Luksik –
What, exactly, makes this nation “America”? It’s not economics. Economic conditions are always the result of a nation’s culture and policies, not the cause. We need to ask what created the culture and policies that made us the most prosperous nation in history.

The answer tells us what we, as a nation, believe. Our Founders began by saying, “We hold these truths to be self-evident”.

Our entire history flows from our belief in those self-evident truths. In modern language, the truths of America’s heritage are:

God exists and is the highest authority. The American Revolution can only be justified if there was an authority above the King – an authority whose standards the King was violating. A government can only be wrong if there is something higher to measure its actions against. [Read more...]

God Has a Lot to Do with It, Christianity and Freedom

Chuck Colson

Chuck Colson

by Chuck Colson –
A recent op-ed in the Los Angeles Times asked “What’s God got to do with it?” The “it” being referred to was the security and freedom that Americans enjoy and often take for granted.

The answer to the question is “quite a bit,” and arguing otherwise requires taking something else for granted: our way of life’s debt to Christianity.

The man asking and answering the question was Michael Shermer, the publisher of Skeptic magazine. Shermer took exception to the words of a recent House resolution to keep “In God We Trust” as the national motto. The resolution read: “Whereas if religion and morality are taken out of the marketplace of ideas, the very freedom on which the United States was founded cannot be secured.”

Shermer was troubled by the “belief that religion has a monopoly on morality,” especially, he says, “in this age of science and technology, computers and cyberspace, and liberal democracies securing rights and freedoms for oppressed peoples all over the globe.” [Read more...]

Steve Jobs and American Exceptionalism

Apple America capitalism freedom by Ed Feulner –
Steve Jobs, who died yesterday at the too-young age of 56, was a living refutation of all that liberals constantly tell us about our country — that we’re falling behind others and live now in a “post-American world,” as one of Barack Obama’s favorite books puts it in its title.

As anyone who’s ever handled an Apple product or had his life improved by the technological innovations our system has produced in just a decade (that means all of us) will tell you, Jobs and innovators like him epitomize that immeasurable quality the left somehow finds most abject — American exceptionalism.

The meme of the left is that drudgery and mediocrity is not just our future but probably also our just deserts–for being too imperialistic, consumerist, wasteful, patriarchal, or what have you. (For an inexhaustible list of all our ills and sins, please check with the mob gathered at the “Occupy Wall Street” protest.) One should compare this deadened vision with the wonders Jobs wrought. [Read more...]

Why Pastors Must Be Free To Preach On Politics

Constitution Freedom of Speech and Religion by Alan Sears –
On Sunday, October 2, hundreds of pastors all over the country did something an astonishingly large number of their fellow Americans had forgotten they had the God-given right to do: namely, address political issues and candidates during a worship service.

Across the nearly 60 years since then U.S. Senator Lyndon Johnson pushed through an amendment to the IRS code threatening any church or pastor who gets involved in politics with IRS reprisals – specifically, the loss of the church’s tax-exempt status – conventional wisdom has congealed around the idea that pastors must stay out of politics. As extraordinary as that assertion is to anyone with even a cursory knowledge of our nation’s history, it’s a theme that’s been hammered home unrelentingly for decades by groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for Separation of Church and State. [Read more...]