The New Jersey Catholic priest who faced down the federal government — and won

During a decade spent teaching and helping the needy in some of China’s most impoverished and oppressed regions, the New Jersey priest learned what it was like to live in a land without religious freedom.

It kindled a greater appreciation for his liberties at home.

Which is why Leonard, 51, bristled at the U.S. government when it told him he couldn’t hold services at a Georgia naval base during last month’s government shutdown. Leonard, a civilian contractor on the base since Oct. 1, wasn’t deemed an “essential” employee.

In a case that made headlines across the country, Leonard filed suit against the Department of Defense, contending the directive violated his freedom of speech and his right to religious expression.

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Christian University president spells out reasons why provisions of Obamacare violate the U.S. constitution

At Oklahoma Wesleyan University we are filing suit against the Obama Administration, Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius and the Affordable Care Act because we believe. We believe whether you are Catholic or Jewish or whether you are Mormon, Methodist, Mennonite or Muslim that you should be free to follow your faith in matters of morality and contraception.  We believe women should be free from any obligation to pay for a drug they find immoral and will never use.  We believe that the racial genocide at the hands of a racist abortion industry must be stopped.  We believe in personal privacy that no judge, legislator or President has any right to violate.  We believe our nation’s girls and their sexuality should be treated with dignity rather than being degraded.  We believe in a culture of life and not a culture of death.

We are filing suit because we believe God is God, not the government and that “we must obey God rather than men.”  (Acts 5:29)

Link

Submitted by Francis V.

Judge plans to deny bid for park Nativity displays

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A federal judge indicated Monday that she planned to deny a bid by churches to force Santa Monica to reopen spaces in a city park to private displays, including Christmas Nativity scenes.

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How will gay ‘marriage’ hurt us? Here’s how.

June 28, 2012 (Breakpoint.org) – Christians are often asked by gay activists why they oppose same-sex “marriage.” “How does our marriage hurt you?” they ask.

Well, I can think of one significant way it will hurt us: It will destroy religious freedom and free speech rights.

The handwriting is on the wall in Canada, which legalized same-sex “marriage” in 2005, in effect completely changing its true meaning. Since then, as Michael Coren notes in National Review Online, “there have been between 200 and 300 proceedings … against critics and opponents of same-sex marriage.” Of course he means legal proceedings.

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New Becket Fund website: 55 plaintiffs, 23 cases, one unconstitutional HHS mandate, and the go-to page for it all.

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty led the charge against the Administration’s unconstitutional HHS mandate.  The Becket Fund applauds the other courageous defenders who have stepped forward and filed additional suits in defense of America’s first freedom.  Today, there are 23 separate cases and 55 individual plaintiffs, representing  hospitals, universities, businesses, schools, and people all speaking with one voice to affirm the freedom of religion guaranteed in the Constitution.

Visit the site

Warning: Freedom of religion and freedom of worship are two very DIFFERENT things!

Faced with what they see as dangerous trends in the Obama administration, the bishops recently announced the creation of their own Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty. The goal is to address church-state trends that in recent decades have primarily been attacked by Protestant conservatives.

Anyone seeking the source of this development in American religion — including recent blasts at the White House by the archbishops of New York and Los Angeles — needs to study a 2009 Georgetown University speech by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. It received relatively little attention at the time.

“Our human-rights agenda for the 21st century is to make human rights a human reality and the first step is to see human rights in a broad context,” she said, speaking on a campus known for its leadership on the Catholic left. “To fulfill their potential, people must be free to choose laws and leaders; to share and access information, to speak, criticize and debate. They must be free to worship, associate and to love in the way that they choose.”

Conservatives cried foul, noting that the secretary of state had raised gay rights — the right for all to “love in the way that they choose” — to the same level as freedoms explicitly articulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They also noticed that she mentioned a narrow right “to worship” instead of using more expansive terms such as religious “freedom” or “liberty.”

“Religious freedom, rightly understood, cannot be reduced to freedom of worship,” argued George Weigel, a Catholic conservative best known for his authorized biography of the late Pope John Paul II.

“Religious freedom includes the right to preach and evangelize, to make religiously informed moral arguments in the public square and to conduct the affairs of one’s religious community without undue interference from the state. If religious freedom only involves the freedom to worship, then … there is ‘religious freedom’ in Saudi Arabia, where Bibles and evangelism are forbidden but expatriate Filipino laborers can attend Mass in the U.S. Embassy compound in Riyadh.”

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Peoria Diocese Mum on U of I Catholic Professor’s Firing/Speech/Religious Oppression.

While ignored by most of the liberals, still Howell has become a conservative cause celebre as he fights for true academic freedom at the University of Illinois where until June 30 he was teaching a course dedicated to exposition of Catholic thought.

I know him well; have had him speak at Chicago Legatus and Catholic Citizens of Illinois; like him immensely and can testify he is the world’s most unlikely guy to trigger a statewide furor and which possibly may detonate a national one for religious freedom. In his presentations, he is as precise but as clearly unequivocal as the late theologian Fr. John Hardon SJ.

Here are the circumstances of Ken Howell’s being fired for expressing clearly and without reservation the traditional Catholic view on homosexuality at a public university that illustrates its scorn for of academic freedom and freedom of religious exercise—as well as the Peoria diocese’s abject cowardice, fleeing controversy by neglecting defense of the Faith one would expect it to protect.

Read more at TomRoeser.com