Over at the Touchstone blog is an article about the Giffords, who have been fined $13,000 by the state of New York because of their refusal to host a lesbian “wedding” on their farm.
*Note on Fasting: Because Friday is the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, it is not appropriate to fast. However, we are continuing to join in prayer for the building up of a culture of life, marriage, and religious liberty.
Intention: As we celebrate Our Lady’s Assumption, may she help us defend religious liberty and human dignity.
Reflection: In our current domestic fight for religious liberty, including, for example, our struggles against the HHS contraception mandate, we regard certain violations of conscience as transgressions of civil rights. But the Church’s stance against being forced to provide contraception precedes the protection of rights of conscience in civil law; it lies in the rights given by God. The Church, in witnessing against contraception, defends the glory and dignity of the human body and proclaims the truth about human sexuality. Therefore, the Church, as Mother, speaks to the heart of each and every human person. May Our Lady help us to witness that in fighting for religious liberty, we are defending the glory and dignity of the human body.
A Tennessee state trial court on August 5 upheld Tennessee’s non-recognition of a valid out-of-state same-sex “marriage.” This is the first win for marriage in court since U.S. v. Windsor.
In his decision, the judge said, regarding the definition of marriage: “The Court also finds that this should be the prerogative of each State. That neither the Federal Government nor another state should be allowed to dictate to Tennessee what has traditionally been a state’s responsibility, which is to provide a framework of laws to govern the safety and wellbeing of its citizens.” Regarding Windsor, the judge said, “The Windsor case is concerned with the definition of marriage, only as it applies to federal laws, and does not give an opinion concerning whether one State must accept as valid a same-sex marriage allowed in another State. . . . The Supreme Court does not go the final step and find that a State that defines marriages as a union of one (1) man and one (1) woman is unconstitutional.”
Intention: We pray for a restoration of peace and justice for Christians and other religious communities in Iraq.
Reflection: For the past month, Christians and other religious communities in Iraq have been targeted by the Islamic State and left with nothing as they were forced to leave their homeland. We join Pope Francis as we continue to pray for our brothers and sisters there and urge the U.S. to provide critical assistance to them. May we never take religious freedom for granted.
Yesterday, U.S. Senator Mike Enzi (R- Wyo.) and Representative Mike Kelly (R- Pa) introduced the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act. This Act is meant to protect organizations who provide child welfare services, such as foster care and adoption, when they have convictions that a child should only be placed with a married mother and father. Currently, a number of organizations are unable to be of service because of their beliefs about marriage.
Three USCCB Chairmen (Archbishops Cordileone, Lori, and Wenski) gave their support to this bill, noting that, “Indeed, women and men who want to place their children for adoption ought to be able to choose from a diversity of adoption agencies, including those that share the parents’ religious beliefs and moral convictions.”
The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference also indicated their support for the Bill, noting, “In 2012, Catholic Charities helped complete over 3,000 adoptions and foster care placements, including permanent homes for over 1,600 special needs or “hard-to-place” children. By allowing a diversity of providers through the Inclusion Act, we will be putting the needs of children first and also protecting the religious liberty of long-serving child welfare providers.”