05 January 2013

Illinoisans, you're about to lose your religious liberty

After President Obama was re-elected to the Presidency of the United States of America I expressed my disappointment and concerns for the future, saying:
As a student of history, what do I see as I look to the coming months and years?
"Gay marriage" is now legal in nine of the fifty States.  The push for its legalization in other States and on a federal level will not end or slow down.
Here in Illinois, we have seen the effects not of legalized "gay marriage," but of civil unions.  After legalizing same-sex civil unions, the State forced Catholic Charities out of foster care and adoptions.  The same has happened in Boston and will continue to happen with increasing speed in other cities and States.
Laws were enacted some years ago to classify certain attacks as "hate crimes," many of which include attacks on those who take part of the gay subculture.  Though such laws have unfortunately not included attacks against people of faith as hate crimes, I do not deny or dispute the good such laws can do.
New laws, however, will soon be enacted that will classify the teachings of the Church on homosexuality, contraception, abortion, and marriage as "hate speech."  Such laws will be the beginning of a concerted and purposed persecution of the Church; the government will seek to silence the Church by removing her pastors.
Once her pastors are silenced or removed, the rights of the Church and of the faithful will be increasingly curtailed and taken away.  Once the freedom of religion is taken away, every other freedom will also be removed.
I know that many of you agree with my concerns.  At the same time, I know that some of you think my concerns unwarranted, far-fetched, and impossible.  This is America, you say, nothing like that can happen here.  History has heard words such as those before and not been impressed.

To illustrate the validity of my concerns, please take the following items into serious and thoughtful consideration.

A clause in the National Defense Authorization Act provides that no military chaplain can be required to perform a ceremony that would violate his (or her) conscience.  This protection presently applies even to called same-sex "marriages."

President Obama claims this clause - which is in keeping with the First Amendment - is "unnecessary and ill-advised" because, he says, this protection is already granted else in military policies.  Such a claim, however, is unconvincing.

Here in Illinois as the legislature prepares to pass the deceitfully named Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act.  Despite weak assurances from Senator Heather Heans (D-Chicago) - one of the bill's two sponsors - that the act protects religious freedom, it actually does not, as Bishop Paprocki recently explained:

In his questions of Senator Heans, Senator Dale Righter (R-Mattoon) also addressed the serious limits this proposed legislation will impose on religious liberty:

The stripping away of our religious liberty begins with the drive to redefine marriage and make it something it is not and cannot be.

Update: When I posted this earlier this morning I knew there was another story I wanted to tie in but I couldn't find it.  Now I have found it.

Following the Holy Father's address to the Roman Curia, an online petition has been started at the White House to "officially recognize the Roman Catholic Church as a hate group."   

Notwithstanding with the inaccurate casting of the words of Pope Benedict XVI, the petition, launched on Christmas Day, has - as of this writing - 1,775 petitions.  If it receives an additional 23,225 by 24 January 2013, the Administration will respond to the petition.

If you think there is not an active movement to completely remove the Church and those who are her faithful sons and daughters from public life, you are woefully blind to the reality around you.

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