Don’t let anyone trick you into thinking that the Fortnight for Freedom is only about contraception. The two-week period of prayer and study is actually about religious liberty and the freedom to practice your beliefs. Opponents of the Catholic Church will try to keep their argument focused on birth control. In reality, contraceptives are plentiful and affordable and will continue to be so. The government has ordered the Church to violate its beliefs by providing health insurance with free contraceptives for employees of Catholic institutions.

The government seems determined to push the Catholic Church out of the hospital, school and charity business. Catholics serve all, regardless of religion. My friend, Fr. Ragan Schriver (who was recently appointed to the board of Catholic Charities USA), always says he talks to God about his clients but doesn’t talk to his clients about God. I’ve heard others say that Catholic Charities serves those in need “because we are Catholic, not because they are Catholic.”

If the Department of Health & Human Services has its way, Catholic schools and universities could only admit Catholic students; Catholic hospitals could only admit Catholic patients and Catholic charities could only give food, shelter and clothing to Catholic clients. Those restrictions are contradictory to the mission of the Church. By restricting Catholic institutions, the government would push more customers students to public schools and more customers aid-recipients to welfare services. That sounds to me like a recipe for raising taxes.

While visiting Maryland over the weekend, my wife and I attended Mass at Holy Family parish in Middletown. The pastor, Monsignor Rob Jaskot, delivered a great sermon that connected the dots between John the Baptist, St. Thomas More and the present day. The parish posted a PDF file of the homily here.

Fr. Rob’s sermon inspired me to speak up again about my belief in the First Amendment. It also inspired me to look up the schedule for activities in my diocese. My parish has a prayer hour on Thursday night. I hope you will be inspired to stand up for the right of all Americans to practice their religious beliefs even if you disagree with those beliefs.

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