Fortnight for Freedom Issue #14: Religious Liberty FAQs

What do we mean by religious liberty?

Religious liberty is the first liberty granted to us by God and protected in the First Amendment to our Constitution. It includes more than our ability to go to Mass on Sunday or pray the Rosary at home. It also encompasses our ability to contribute freely to the common good of all Americans.

What is the First Amendment?

The First Amendment of the U.S. Bill of Rights states the following: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

What does “shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” mean?

This phrase, known as the “Establishment Clause,” started out as a prohibition on Congress’ either establishing a national religion or interfering with the established religions of the states. It has since been interpreted to forbid state establishments of religion, to forbid governmental preference (at any level) of one religion over another, and to forbid direct government funding of religion.

What does “prohibiting the free exercise thereof” mean?

This phrase, known as the “Free Exercise Clause,” generally protects citizens and institutions from government interference with the exercise of their religious beliefs. It sometimes mandates the accommodation of religious practices when such practices conflict with federal, state, or local laws.

What did our early American leaders say about religious freedom?

Read more (with PDF’s)

1st amendment prohibits the government from meddling in church business … even when it comes to politics … and tax exemptions!

The Thomas More Society says that the law and the Bill of Rights is on the bishop’s side, and promises a “free and aggressive legal defense to any religious leaders targeted or victimized for the robust exercise of their free speech rights.”

“The Internal Revenue Service has no legal right to investigate, let alone threaten or penalize the Catholic Diocese of Peoria for illegal ‘electioneering’ after Bishop Daniel Jenky, C.S.C., referred to policies of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin while delivering a robust, wholly legitimate critique of current federal efforts to quash and curtail religious liberties,” says Thomas Brejcha, president of the Thomas More Society.

“References to egregious, historical mistakes on the part of political leaders of the past in messages to congregations, even in an election year, are fully protected by the First Amendment, whether those messages are delivered from the pulpit or on soap boxes in the public square,” he continued.

“We think the law is very clear,” said Brejcha.

“Well-settled federal law does not prohibit churches and other tax-exempt non-profits from speaking out against government policies at odds with the common good or – as in this case – constitutionally obnoxious.”

Read more

Religious Liberty: “You Need Not Thank Anyone But God For It”

Hat tip to Mark Scott Abeln at Rome of the West for bringing the story which follows to our attention.  Although the U.S. Constitution enshrines free exercise of religion as the first freedom in the First Amendment, attempts by government to assert authority over who can and cannot carry out the ministry of the Church happened long before the recent unpleasantness of the HHS mandate.

Read more

The National Rifle Association and the Catholic Church need to develop a shared strategy in order to better preserve our key constitutional rights.

For over 150 years all Americans understood the second amendment as an individual right to keep and bear arms.  The left’s great distaste for this right is well known, but the 2nd amendment seems fairly clear on this point.  Undaunted, for years the left asserted, contrary to all historic understanding, that this “right” belonged not to the individual, but to a group.  In this case “A well regulated Militia.”  They attempted to make a result of the right, the right itself.

If only “A well regulated Militia” has a right to keep and bear arms, this right no longer applies to the individual and ultimately the government gets to decide who can be in and what constitutes “A well regulated Militia.”  Membership in the group is then more and more narrowly defined that in the end, the corporate right ceases to exist in reality, as does your former individual right.  Thankfully, thanks to determined groups of citizens, the former understanding of this right as an individual one has been reasserted and established by the Supreme Court.  Thank heavens, for such liberty lost is only found again in blood-soaked places.

As I watch the debate on Obamacare and the HHS mandate, the secularist left is using this same corporatizing tactic to attack your fundamental right to religious liberty.

Read more

Editor’s note: This would also be a whole new “take” on the concept of “The Church Militant” – a real ONE – TWO “punch” to the growing tyranny of the secular leftists – with the Catholic Church taking the lead on the First Amendment and the National Rifle Association continuing to concentrate on the Second.

Of course, the NRA isn’t likely to go along, since so many of today’s Catholics (as well as priests and bishops) are “lefties” themselves … so far to the left that the term “Church Militant” has been summarily excised from the current Catechism of the Catholic Church.

President Barack Hussein Obama, what is it about “The Bill of Rights” you don’t understand?


by Doug Lawrence

The people who founded the United States of America were intimately familiar with tyrants, along with all their petty, self-serving and unjust edicts. They also knew that the only answer to such edicts and the people who made them was a firm and resounding  “NO”!

The Revolutionary War was fought in order to give a permanent and  particular kind of life to that “no” … and as a warning to petty despots … anywhere and everywhere … that there is now a “free people” on the earth who will accept nothing less than liberty, and who will also be quite happy to give their lives in defense of the God-given rights of all.

But many of our contemporaries seem to think the founding fathers were wrong, that the God-given rights that they so painstakingly enumerated, defined, and enshrined were somehow inadequate, that those rights lacked a divine origin, in fact … and that what we Americans know as “The Bill of Rights” and “The U.S. Constitution” should somehow be reformed or replaced with something more to their liking.

They even go so far as to label those who choose to uphold and defend the traditional rights of all Americans as “mean-spirited bigots” … while at the same time, attempting to rewrite the very history of our great country.

In an attempt to besmirch the reputations of the founding fathers … while trumpeting the cause of “diversity” … these shameless anarchists happily point out that all of the founding fathers … without exception … were men!

In an attempt to undermine the divine basis of the God-given rights that we Americans, and by extension … all human beings possess … they love to trot out (and have been quietly working for generations to codify) an imaginary, totally non-existent  “wall of separation between church and state”.

In an attempt to “sneak” all of this by the American people, they have succeeded in “dumbing down” the younger generations through their successful infiltration of the teachers unions and their subversion of the primary and secondary school systems.

Our great universities have become havens for an outspoken “protected class” of “secular theologians” … godless professors … many of whom are avowed Marxists and blatant, outright haters of the American way … who, at great expense … and with considerable pomp and circumstance … churn out mindless hordes, formed in their own image and likeness, lacking any sense of who they really are, where they actually came from, or what their actual rights, responsibilities and potential as “free people” … might truly be!

Hollywood and the mainstream media grow fat by feeding this massive group of clueless sycophants a steady diet of mental “pap” and “pablum”, while corporate America grows rich … keeping them busy and quite off balance … by “stoking the fires” of their mindless personal quest for money, approval, and influence (as opposed to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.)

Fortunately, recent events have served to bring all these things to light, in the presidency and the particularly corrupt regime of one Barack Hussein Obama, who in his notorious speaking engagement at the formerly Catholic, Notre Dame University, unwittingly became the national “poster boy” for all of the abuses mentioned above (and unfortunately, many, many more.)

The only answer to tyrants like Barack Obama, to all those of his political party, and to all his political operatives, no matter under which rock they might presently be be hiding … is a firm, unyielding “NO”. And the best place to firmly register that “NO” is at the ballot box, come November.

As for the specific “whys” … have a look at “The Bill of Rights”!

The 4th of July is here! Read the Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights and more.

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Click to read the Declaration of Independence

Click to read the Constitution of the United States of America

Read amendments to the Constitution (click the appropriate link below):