Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

6/11/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

This HHS Edict has given rise to a religious freedom movement which holds great promise for the future of our Nation and the free world.


I participated in the Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally at the Town Center in Virginia Beach, Virginia. On a brilliant sunny Friday I had the privilege on emceeing the event and giving one of the addresses. I stood alongside of other Catholics, evangelical protestants, tea party activists, and many other people of faith and good will. We stood arm in arm to defend religious liberty and thus to defend the common good.The Rallies of Friday, June 8, 2012 were held in close to 200 Cities in the USA

We are serving notice on this Administration that the fundamental human right to the first freedom, Religious Freedom, cannot and will not be taken away. We will prevail because our cause is just and serves the true common good.

We are serving notice on this Administration that the fundamental human right to the first freedom, Religious Freedom, cannot and will not be taken away. We will prevail because our cause is just and serves the true common good.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

6/11/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Religious freedom, religious Liberty, Stand Up for Religious Freedom, Fr Dan Beeman, Fr John Abe, Ryan Bromberg, Benedictine College, For Greater Glory, Deacon Keith Fournier


VIRGINIA BEACH, VA. (Catholic Online) - I participated in the Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally at the Town Center in Virginia Beach, Virginia. On a brilliant sunny Friday I had the privilege on emceeing the event and giving one of the addresses. I stood alongside of other Catholics, evangelical protestants, tea party activists, and many other people of faith and good will. We stood arm in arm to defend religious liberty and thus to defend the common good.

The HHS Mandate which prompted our gathering was issued on January 20, 2012 by Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of Health and Human Services. It would require all employers, including Catholic and other religious employers, to cover sterilization, abortion inducing drugs, and contraception in their health care plans. The unconstitutional and unjust edict threatens the foundations of freedom which have secured the American experiment in ordered liberty. 

The exemption offered by the Obama Administration for religious employers did not cover hospitals, universities, soup kitchens, outreaches to the poor and many other vital expressions of our Catholic faith and mission. Clearly, the exemption would not cover the earthly ministry of Jesus as he reached out to all. He continues to do just that through the Church which is His Body, continuing His redemptive mission.

The 25th chapter of St Matthews Gospel records His sobering words. We will be judged by whether we recognized Him in the face of the sick, the poor, the imprisoned, and the marginalized. Catholics, along with other Christians, believe that the Gospel of Jesus Christ demands a response which goes beyond the walls of our Church buildings. We are our brother and sister's keeper. We do not reach out to people in need because they are Catholic. We reach out to people in need because we are Catholic.  We will not be prevented from doing so! 

The "accommodation" offered by the Administration following the initial outcry over the mandate was a fraud, a shell game, which accomplished nothing. When the Mandate was recorded in the Federal Register, nothing had changed. This HHS Edict is a violation of the Free Exercise of Religion which is protected under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.  "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF!

The Right to the Free Exercise of religion is called the "FIRST FREEDOM" in the American tradition for good reason. It is a foundation of all of our freedoms. The Birth Certificate of our Nation, the Declaration of Independence, affirmed the existence of inalienable rights and self evident truths. Those Rights of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness are endowed by our Creator and not conferred by civil Government. They cannot be taken away by civil Government.

Religious Liberty is at the heart of the Right to Liberty in the Western tradition. This HHS Mandate not only injures the Church and religious institutions it harms the common good of the entire Nation. The Federal Government of the United States is trying to compel us to act against deeply held religious convictions and to violate our formed conscience. It is also an unjust law.

The claim that it is an unjust law is rooted in the western understanding of the nature of law itself. It is the foundation upon which the American founders grounded their insistence that there are inalienable rights, endowed upon us all by a Creator, which cannot be taken away by any civil government. Positive law must reflect the Natural Law.

Saint Augustine said of an unjust law, "For it seems to me that an unjust law is no law at all." Saint Thomas Aquinas explained, "Human law is law only in virtue of its accordance with right reason: and thus it is manifest that it flows from the eternal law. And in so far as it deviates from right reason it is called an unjust law; in such case it is no law at all, but rather a species of violence." In doing so, they echoed Cicero, Aristotle and Plato and the entire Natural Law Tradition.

Martin Luther King, Jr., in his 1963 Letter from a Birmingham Jail, gave this explanation of how one determines whether a law is unjust, "How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law."

This HHS mandate came one day after Pope Benedict XVI addressed a group of US Bishops during their visit. He warned them of the growth of radical secularism in the United States and the accompanying threats to the fundamental Right to Religious Freedom so integral to the American experiment. 

The Rallies of Friday, June 8, 2012 were held in close to 200 Cities in the United States. I stood with Catholic priests like Fr John Abe; the pastor of St Matthews Parish in Virginia Beach. He eloquently represented portions of the Letter entitled "Our First, Most Cherished Liberty" issued by the United States Catholic Bishops - and added his own of explanation and affirmation at the end.

I stood with Fr. Dan Beeman; the Pastor of Holy Trinity Church in Norfolk, Virginia, who is an advisor to Catholic Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo. Fr Beeman gave one of the most inspiring summaries of the Catholic experience in America and told the cheering crowd that we will not back down and we will not comply with this unjust mandate. That crowd included Catholic priests, deacons and lay men and women, as well as many others, who responded enthusiastically to this good priest.

I stood with evangelical protestant Christians who also eloquently stood in defense of the First Freedom. Leaders such as Bishop Earl W Jackson, a candidate for the United States Senate in Virginia, who is both a Harvard Law and Harvard Divinity graduate. "E.W." Jackson is one of the most inspiring speakers I have ever heard. The response of the crowd confirmed I was not alone in my assessment of this gifted man. 

I stood with Ryan Bomberger, the co-founder and chief creative officer of Radiance Foundation.Ryan is one of the most creative and courageous younger voices defending the dignity of every human person, including our first neighbors in the womb. His own extraordinary story underscores his heroic and uncompromising defense of every human life.

There were several more wonderful speakers but I will only mention two in this article. Perhaps I can return to the others in future writing. I must mention Rachel Francis, a rising sophomore at Benedictine College in Kansas, one of a growing number of new and renewed dynamically Catholic Colleges and Universities preparing our future leaders for the Church and the world into which she is sent. Rachel was extraordinary and gave me immense hope for our future.

Finally, I must mention Georgie Marquez. Her stories of members from her own family who experienced the Christero wars in Mexico, fought over religious freedom and featured in the extraordinary film, For Greater Glory, moved the entire crowd to shout "Viva Cristo Rey" and reflect upon the importance of our efforts.

There is a silver lining in the dark cloud threatening the First Freedom in the United States. This HHS Edict has given rise to a religious freedom movement which holds great promise for the future of our Nation and the free world. It has prompted a new and promising alliance. We have found one another and we are standing together in solidarity and citizen action.

We are exercising our other fundamental other constitutional rights such as the Rights to Free Speech, Free Association and Free Assembly - and the Right to Petition our Government for a Redress of grievances. We are serving notice on this Administration that the fundamental human right to the first freedom, Religious Freedom, cannot and will not be taken away. We will prevail because our cause is just and serves the true common good. 

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2014
Sports:
That sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth.
Lay Missionaries: That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.



Comments


More U.S.

Archbishop Chaput Speaks at the Napa Institute Conference on Pope Francis and Economic Justice

Image of Archbishop Charles J. Chaput is one of the preeminent Churchmen of our age. He offers a prophetic voice for this important time. He not only grasps and articulates Catholic Social Doctrine well, he also understands the real treasure we have been given in this Pope who took the name Francis. I believe that his insights into Pope Francis need to be read by as many people as possible.

By Catholic Online

In matters of economic justice, Francis' concerns are the same as Benedict's and John Paul II's and Pius XI's and Leo XIII's. He understands economic matters through the lens of Church teaching in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. Like his ... continue reading


Thousands of Christians Flee Under Death Threat From Tyrannical Caliph and ISIS Jihadists Watch

Image of (Pictured: Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, or Caliph Ibrahim) At first, Christians were ordered to gather in a central place to receive the directive from the self appointed Caliph. Understandably, given the track record of this maniacal tyrant, few did. So, the text of the statement was issued as a formal declaration to all Christians - We offer them three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract - involving payment of Jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

By now, everyone who is in anyway concerned about what is happening to Christians in Iraq has heard the horrific news. The madman who claims to be a descendant of Mohammed, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi - who in his delusion and grandiosity has taken to calling himself ... continue reading


Bridget of Sweden, Marriage and Family, and the Need for Canonized Married Saints Watch

Image of St Bridget of Sweden, her husband Ulf, and all the modern Popes call Christian married couples to become the 'Sweet and Smiling Face of the Church' in this age. This is an age which is desperately in need of all kinds of saints. I suggest we particularly need examples of married, canonized Saints. That is precisely because this is an age where faithful marriage is now counter-cultural. We need examples of men and women who not only embraced it in Christ, but lived it as a but a path to heroic virtue.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The clear teaching of the Bible, the Christian tradition and the re-emphasis of the last Council in the Catholic Church, the Second Vatican Council, make clear - we are ALL called to holiness in life. That  is what the Catholic Church regularly refers to as ... continue reading


Deacon Keith Fournier: The Courage of the Catholic Bishops, Religious Liberty, Hobby Lobby and ENDA Watch

Image of Deacon Keith Fournier is Founder and Chairman of Common Good Foundation and Common Good Alliance. A married Roman Catholic Deacon of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, he and his wife Laurine have five grown children and six grandchildren, He serves as the Director of Adult Faith Formation at St. Stephen, Martyr Parish in Chesapeake, VA. He is also a human rights lawyer and public policy advocate. Deacon Fournier is a graduate of the Franciscan University of Steubenville (Theology and Philosophy, BA), the John Paul II Institute of the Lateran University (Theology of Marriage and Family, MTS), and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law (JD). He has completed requirements for the PhD in Moral Theology at the Catholic University of America and is writing the PhD dissertation on the teaching of St. John Paul II.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The Catholic Bishops are doing an excellent job standing up for Religious liberty as a fundamental human right. One of my growing concerns is that many Catholics do not even read what they are saying. Sadly, in a propagandized media where sound bites substitute ... continue reading


Obama demands that illegals be allowed to enter U.S. Watch

Image of Tens of thousands of illegal, unaccompanied minors have flooded into the United States since 2014 began, often escaping violence in war torn Central American countries.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Barack Obama's administration is considering whether or not it will allow hundreds of minors and young adults from Honduras and other war-torn Central American states to enter into the United States illegally and without crossing into the country ... continue reading


Are you ready for the next dust bowl? California is! Watch

Image of A new study suggests that the Colorado River Basin is rapidly running out of water, which may be disastrous for the seven states it supplies.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to a report published by the American space agency and the University of California, the water crisis that is punishing the southwestern United States is likely to worsen. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The report found that the prime source of water ... continue reading


PLAGUE OF BIBLICAL PROPORTIONS: Mayflies descend on Wisconsin Watch

Image of When summer arrives, Mayflies take flight and proceed to mate before immediately going back to the water to lay eggs and die.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's a plague of Biblical proportions. Ugly mayflies have descended on the state of Wisconsin, covering up exterior services like so much black, metallic dust. Photos coming out of Wisconsin is sure to send viewers itching - so beware of some of the sights in ... continue reading


Catholic Bishops Decry Obama's LGBT executive order as imprudent act of religious discrimination Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The chairmen of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty and Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth have been strong in their condemnation of President Obama's legislation on LGBT employees. "Today's ... continue reading


A Tribute to Protestant Bishop Tony Palmer, Friend of Francis and Champion of Christian Unity Watch

Image of The late Bishop Tony Palmer with Pope Francis- He was catapulted into prominence in the broader Christian community when, while meeting with his friend the Pope in January, he was given a recorded message from Francis to deliver to a large group of charismatic, evangelical protestant leaders who gathered in the United States. The video went viral. It moved millions to sincere prayer for the healing of the divisions in the broken Body of Christ and is prompting a renewed commitment to common apostolic action between Christians.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

I never personally met Bishop Tony Palmer. However, I look forward to spending an eternity in the full communion of God's love with him. I appreciated his Christian courage and felt that his efforts were prophetic. He wrote his life - and lived his ministry - ... continue reading


Exclusive: Tribute to Bishop Tony Palmer, A Life Dedicated to Unity Watch

Image of (Pictured: Left to Right - Dirk West, Matteo Callisi, Bishop Tony Palmer, and Deacon Darrell Wentworth) - Faith to Bishop Tony Palmer was a dynamic, lived experience and, as a result, his life built up the whole Body of Christ and tore down the walls some have built to separate us from each other! What a legacy! A true example of living Jesus' prayer in John 17! (Deacon Darrell Wentworth)

By Deacon Darrell Wentworth

Monday, July 21, 2014, was supposed to be like most Mondays - the start of a work week. But Deacon Keith Fournier sent me a text informing me that my friend, Bishop Tony Palmer, had died. Shock went through my body as I processed that news; then disbelief as I ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Gospel, John 11:19-27
19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 29th, 2014 Image

St. Martha
July 29: "Jesus loved Martha and Mary and Lazarus." This unique ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter