Archbishop Dennis Schnurr, of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, reflected on May 31, 2019 on the state of religious freedom in our country in his column in The Catholic Telegraph. He writes,
“In the United States, freedom of worship is taken for granted. However religious liberty involves much more than that. It is also the freedom to live out our faith in the public square as we serve the community in faithful citizenship. That is what the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects in its very first words: ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.’
Today, however, Catholic hospitals, schools, and charitable services (such as adoption and foster care) are under attack for upholding Catholic teaching about marriage and sexuality. New federal legislation introduced in the House of Representatives, deceptively called the “Equality Act,” would force such institutions to choose between operating according to our faith and shutting down. This is the latest in a series of threats to religious freedom over the past decade.
The Catholic Church in the United States will highlight these challenges later this month with its annual observance of Religious Freedom Week. The week begins with the Feasts of St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher on June 22 and ends with the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul on June 29. All those saints were martyred for living their faith – the faith we share as Catholics.”
Join in the USCCB’s observance of Religious Freedom Week, 2019!
The USCCB continues to oppose the Equality Act in Congress. The House passed the act on May 17, 2019.
Five Bishop Chairmen spoke out against it on behalf of their committees:
- Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, Committee on Pro-Life Activities
- Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development
- Bishop Michael C. Barber, Committee on Catholic Education
- Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, Committee for Religious Liberty
- Bishop James D. Conley, Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage
“Our faith calls us to uphold every individual’s dignity and rights against unjust discrimination – including in employment, housing, and services – regardless of characteristics or background. Rather than offering meaningful protections for individuals, the Equality Act would impose sweeping new norms that negatively impact the unborn, health care, charitable services, schools, personal privacy, athletics, free speech, religious liberties, and parental rights. The Act’s unsound definitions of ‘sex’ and ’gender identity’ would erase women’s distinct, hard-won recognition in federal laws. Its sex-based nondiscrimination terms would end women’s shelters and many single-sex schools. It would close faith-based foster care and adoption agencies that honor children’s rights to a mother and father. The bill would even act as an abortion mandate. We must pursue justice and equality for anyone denied it; but this is a regrettable approach. We are gravely disappointed with the Act’s passage in the U.S. House.”