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Bishop Richard G. Lennon

friday july 3 2015
Fortnight for Freedom focuses on recapturing religious liberty

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has urged all Catholics to be part of a special two-week time of prayer and fasting from Sunday, June 21 through Saturday, July 4.  This effort is called Fortnight for Freedom.

The reason for this request is because in the eyes of many people there is a weakening of one of our most cherished liberties known as religious liberty.

From the beginning of our country there has been an awareness of the need of stated liberties and freedoms which would be enshrined in the foundational documents in our country, lest there be unjust government intrusion in the lives of the people.

The First Amendment to our U.S. Constitution states the following:  “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . .” 

James Madison wrote: “[T]he equal right of every citizen to the free exercise of his Religion according to the dictates of conscience is held with all our rights.”  Thomas Jefferson wrote: “No provision in our Constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience against the enterprises of the civil authority.”

The foundation laid out by our Founding Fathers was wise and prudent as it foresaw the need for protections against the wishes of governmental leaders.  Today we find efforts of government which strive to lessen our freedoms especially in the area of religious freedoms.

Thus, the Bishops of our country are striving to help people realize what is at stake if government continues in the direction which it is pursuing which lessens the value of religious freedom and liberty for all Americans.  Our Founding Fathers would not recognize what is being presented as religious freedom today.  It is up to all Americans to realize what is happening and to strive to recapture our cherished freedom of religion.

We are being called to prayer and fasting and to take action in order to defend religious liberty and conscience rights against unjust government intrusion.

I personally invite the faithful to join me at Mass on Independence Day, July 4, at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist at 10 a.m. to pray for the preservation of one of our most cherished liberties -- religious liberty.

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