Sunday, June 24, 2012

Fortnight for Freedom

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have announced the Fortnight for Freedom Campaign, which began June 21 and will run to July 4th.

From the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:

Fortnight For Freedom 
The fourteen days from June 21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to July 4, Independence Day, are dedicated to this “fortnight for freedom”—a great hymn of prayer for our country. Our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power—St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome. Culminating on Independence Day, this special period of prayer, study, catechesis, and public action will emphasize both our Christian and American heritage of liberty. Dioceses and parishes around the country have scheduled special events that support a great national campaign of teaching and witness for religious liberty.

Freedom of Religion is our first freedom, given place of priority in the First Amendment. Free exercise of religion means the freedom of individuals and organizations to act in accordance with their conscience as formed by their religious precepts. It is an unalienable right. It is now under assault, most notably by the Obama administration's demand that religious institutions and private businessmen offer contraceptive and abortifacient coverage to their employees. It is a clear violation of human rights and of the First Amendment.

From Life News:

The Fortnight for Freedom campaign the nation’s Catholic bishops started against the Obama HHS mandate, which forces religious groups to pay for abortions and birth control drugs for their employees, begins Thursday. 
The United States Catholic bishops are readying American Catholics for what may be the largest campaign of civil disobedience since the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s. In addition to 12 lawsuits against the Obama Administration including 46 plaintiffs from dioceses, hospitals and universities, the US Catholic bishops are urging Catholics to openly defy the Obama HHS Mandate. 
The USCCB is distributing bulletin inserts nationwide, which reference Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his call for civil disobedience in response to unjust laws. 
According to the USCCB, “Bishops in their own dioceses are encouraged to arrange special events to highlight the importance of defending religious freedom. Catholic institutions are encouraged to do the same, especially in cooperation with other Christians, Jews, people of other faiths and all who wish to defend our most cherished freedom.”
John Jansen of the Pro-Life Action League urges everyone to participate and commended the Catholic bishops for leading what is not a Catholic-only fight. 
“The U.S. Bishops have been steadfastly outspoken against the HHS Mandate’s assault on religious freedom, and their leadership and messaging has been widely praised by Catholics and non-Catholics alike,” he said. “As part of their response to the HHS Mandate, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has called for a Fortnight for Freedom—a time of prayer, education and action on religious freedom from June 21 to July 4.” 
“We wholeheartedly support the Fortnight for Freedom, and we encourage you to take part,” he added. 
Eric Schiedler, of the Pro-Life Action League, stressed the election component of the event. 
“As we approach the crucial elections in the fall all people of faith must make it clear to our leaders that we will not allow our religious freedom to be compromised,” he said.
Matt Smith, President of the Catholic Advocate, also urges people to get involved.
“It doesn’t matter if you live in Alaska, Montana, Florida, or Maine – you’ll be united with concerned citizens from all over America for 14 days of prayer, education, and action in support of religious liberty,” he said. 
Smith said people can get involved without having to leave their homes, such as with his group’sVirtual Vigil for Religious Liberty
“There are many ways for you to answer the Bishops’ call during the Fortnight for Freedom without leaving your home. There will be dozens of opportunities for you to get involved including: contacting your members of Congress to demand they vote in favor of legislation that defends religious liberty; sharing facts with your family and friends on Facebook and Twitter; joining fellow Catholics and people of faith in special prayers; and participating in many other activities to support our efforts defending religious liberty for all Americans,” he said. 
“The bishops have urged us all to consider the ‘Christian and American heritage of liberty’ during this time, and we think participating in our virtual vigil is one great way for people of faith from across the United States to come together,” Smith added.
“Our goal is to unite those standing for our liberties in a national way by their attendance at the virtual vigil in Washington, D.C.,” added Smith. “We also encourage participation in the various activities being hosted in dioceses across the country but for those unable to attend an event they can be a part of the fortnight through the vigil.” 
Brian Burch of, also urged people to join the cause together. 
“The Fortnight for Freedom is a powerful nationwide campaign launched by our Catholic Bishops. They are asking you and me to pray, study and engage in civil and responsible public action. The Fortnight is in direct response to the notorious HHS mandate that would compel all Catholic hospitals, charities and schools — and all private businesses — to provide health services in direct contradiction to Church teaching on human life,” he said. 
In addition, the Family Research Council has called for Two Weeks for Freedom,” a call for cooperation between all Christians in the fight for religious freedom.

Catholics and our Christian brethren have enormous power in this country. We have allowed a coterie of thugs to violate our Constitutional rights. The contraceptive/abortifacient mandate is merely the most recent instance of denial of rights to Christians. We have been censored in schools, in our public places, and punished for acting in accordance with our religious beliefs.

We are finally waking up to what is happening. We have enormous political power. Aside from the impact of a couple hundred million Christians in America organizing and working in concert to protect human rights and advance a Christian understanding of rights and justice in our laws, the Catholic vote (a quarter of all voters) is decisive in many of our elections at both the local and federal levels. In presidential elections, every candidate since 1952 who lost the Catholic vote lost the election (except Clinton in 1992).

Fifty four percent of Catholics (shamefully) voted for Obama in 2008. Millions of those Catholic voters won't make that mistake again.

This is a critical issue for our nation, and this is a critical year. Please join the fight to protect our most important freedom. 


  1. "Catholics and our Christian brethren have enormous power in this country."

    That's wishful thinking on your part, Egnor. I wish it were true, but I see no evidence of that. Political leaders don't care what we think and they mistreat us on a regular basis without giving it a thought. If we were half as organized as the homosexuals, they'd kiss our asses at high noon in Times Square.

    Well, we'd probably have to be as petty and nasty as the homosexuals too.

    Sadly I think this fortnight for freedom will result in nothing. It's a big waste of time. We've tolerated so many egregious violations of decency and our civil rights. Each new violation is greeted with a hearty, "We won't stand for it!"

    And then we do.

    The Torch

  2. Turns the stomach to see a picture of little child on a propaganda poster from a bunch of thugs and child molesters.

    1. If you don't think anti-Catholic bigotry exists in America, just read any of the "liberal" commenters on this blog--Oleg, KW, Anonymous, and Bachfiend (who now tries hiding behind another screenname.)


    2. Catholic equals Nazi. But you don't hate us and you aren't a threat to our freedom. You just want to treat us like Nazis.

      "The catholic all-male sexually suppressed clergy is a power-hungry cabal of sociopaths."

      Sociopath is technical term used by psychiatrists and psychologists. You're using it as a general term of bigotry.

      Considering the fact that the church has so little power, it's a little odd that they would choose that line of work. If you want power hungry "sociopaths", look at the Obama Administration.

      "No wonder it attracts twisted homosexuals."

      Twisted homosexuals are attracted to a sexually suppressed group? Why is that? "I joined the priesthood because I'm a pervert and I like being celibate."

      So, Anonymous: Given your comments, are you now willing to admit that Catholics face bigotry in this country?


    3. TRISH,

      Anonymous doesn't care that gay men represent eleven times their "fair" share of child molestation cases. He doesn't care that priests molest at about the same rate as men in general.

      He doesn't care about facts. Stop using them, they only make him angry and confused.

      What he cares about is suppressing our religious freedom, and the church sex abuse scandals provide just the cover to do it. Without fail, every time I use the words "religious freedom" and "Catholic together in the same sentence, some genius quips "But priests molest little boys."

      And so Catholics aren't entitled to their constitutional rights. I've never seen anything like it. The existence of pedophile priests is the excuse they fall back on whenever they want to treat us like crap. I guess it's supposed to show that we deserve it, so it's not really discrimination.

      But what the heck does one have to do with the other? When they're finished stripping us of all of our rights, will there still be priest child molesters? Yes. But then, just as now, the proportion of priest child molesters will be about the same as among all men.

      The Torch

    4. Anonymous June 24, 2012 7:51 AM "Homosexuals molest eleven times more than their proportion."
      {citation needed} (Also, no.)

      "And nearly all of the priests child molesters are also homosexuals."
      "A preliminary report commissioned by the nation's Roman Catholic bishops to investigate the clergy sex abuse scandal has found no evidence that gay priests are more likely than heterosexual clergy to molest children…"

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  4. TRISH, I wonder which specific comment of mine makes you justified in accusing me of anti-Catholic bigotry? I don't think I have ever said anything that can be misconstrued as that.

    You might want to retract your slander.

    1. You don't believe that we're entitled to our constitutional right to free exercise of religion.


    2. Don't retract anything, TRISH.

      The Torch

  5. Don't make me laugh with this claim of lack of religious freedom in America. You don't know what lack of freedom is.

    Catholics in America are perfectly free to follow their religion. No one is stopping them from going to church or reading the Bible. No one is forcing them to divorce their spouses, undergo abortions or use contraception.

    What they don't have the freedom to do is to force their opinions on others who don't agree with them.

    They don't have the right to force school prayers. Or to destroy sound science education in schools. Or to create artificial barriers to contraception or elective abortions.

    You don't give freedom to one group in society by taking away the freedom of other groups (provided, of course, the freedom doesn't involve the commission of crimes directed against others).

    Regardless of whether the percentage of pedophiles in the priesthood is less than, greater or the same as that in the general population, Christians claim higher morality than others. It doesn't seem to be working for the priesthood.

    1. "Regardless of whether the percentage of pedophiles in the priesthood is less than, greater or the same as that in the general population, Christians claim higher morality than others. It doesn't seem to be working for the priesthood."

      Christians claim to be sinners, fallen since the time of Adam and in need to redemption. You obviously don't understand Christianity. Many Christians probably believe that they know the right way to live, but none, as far as I know claim that they always live that way.

      'Catholics in America are perfectly free to follow their religion.'

      No, we are not. See Catholic adoptive services of Boston, the contraceptive mandate.

      "No one is stopping them from going to church or reading the Bible."

      That is an extremely narrow view of religious freedom So long as we can still go to church, all is well? Sorry. That's not cutting it.

      "No one is forcing them to divorce their spouses, undergo abortions or use contraception."

      They're "only" forcing us to pay for other to do it.

      "What they don't have the freedom to do is to force their opinions on others who don't agree with them."

      The Catholic Church has no authority to make anyone do anything. The government does. And it is the government that is dictating policy to the church, not the other way around.

      By the way, the government forces its opinions on people all of the time. If you don't want to serve black people in your restaurant, a moral evil, the government will force you. Oddly enough, no one ever calls that an imposition of some one else's morality, even though it is.

      "They don't have the right to force school prayers."

      And I, personally don't want to. But is isn't prohibited by the Constitution. No one is being FORCED to pray in this country, although plenty of people are being PROHIBITED from praying.

      "Or to destroy sound science education in schools."

      We don't have sound science in our schools so there's nothing to destroy. Our students finish near the bottom of industrialized nations in science and basically every other subject, despite paying more per student than every other country except Luxembourg. Our science education sucks.

      "Or to create artificial barriers to contraception or elective abortions."

      Both of which are legal, so that isn't even the issue. The issue is if we will be forced to pay for them. And the Catholic Church can't prohibit these things because it isn't the civil authority. Catholic citizens have every right to take part in the political process, however, and help end legalized infanticide. Both abortion and birth control are made up rights that do not actually appear in the Constitution.

      "You don't give freedom to one group in society by taking away the freedom of other groups (provided, of course, the freedom doesn't involve the commission of crimes directed against others)."

      Prior to Roe v. Wade, abortion was a crime directed towards another.

      We gave women the "freedom" to have abortion by taking away the freedom of another group--the unborn.


    2. If Christians can't force others to follow their morality, I guess Martin Luther King has a lot of apologizing to do.

      Read his Letter from a Birmingham Jail. He did not try to hide the fact that his mission was Christian in nature and that he blamed America for not being insufficiently Christ-like.

      The Torch

    3. They're "only" forcing us to pay for other to do it.

      Government "forces" people to "pay" for services for others that the payor objects to all the time. Grow up and accept your responsibilities as a citizen.

  6. TRISH, this is truly laughable. For one thing, you don't know what I think, you can only go by what I write.

    More to the point, I do not think I have ever written anything that would suggest my opposition to your right of free exercise of religion. Perhaps you can point out a specific instance of that? If not then I suggest that you retract and apologize.



    1. Do you support the contraceptive mandate?


    2. TRISH, either you have made your accusation on the basis of something or it was baseless. I am not answering any of your questions until you either point out the basis of your accusation or you retract it and apologize. It's pretty simple, really.

    3. Well, I'm not apologizing. So I hope you enjoy the self-righteous snit you've gotten yourself into. And the reason you won't respond to the question is because the answer is yes.

    4. I can't believe this guy expects an apology.

      Oh yeah, you've been wronged. Poor thing.

      Keep waiting, buddy...

      The Torch

    5. TRISH, once again, you can't know what I believe because you haven't met me and have not interacted with me online much. All you have to go on is what I write. I don't think I have expressed my thoughts about the contraceptive mandate on this blog, or anywhere else for that matter.

      Not knowing them, you are reduced to guessing. And guess what? You guessed wrong. I am not going to get into the details, but that hardly matters, TRISH. What matters is that it was you who painted all the liberals on this blog with a broad brush. You are the bigot. Look in the mirror, sister, and marvel.

      Seriously, I did not expect a retraction, to say nothing of an apology. You are too angry, self-righteous, and small for that.

      Have a nice day, TRISH. Enjoy yourself.


    6. The angry, self righteous and small one is you, Oleg.

      So, are you going to answer her question?

      Let me ask you, do you think Catholic adoption services should have to hand children over to homosexuals?

      The Torch.

    7. I see you have joined the fishing expedition, The Torch? I am not going to help you, brother. You go ahead and find what I think on the subject, then accuse me of being a bigot. Not the other way around.

    8. How can I find out except to ask you?

      And considering the fact that you've been asked and refuse to answer, you're basically refuting yourself.

      I think you're refusing to answer the question because it's yes. Which means that you don't support our First Amendment rights because you see us as second class citizens.

      The Torch

    9. Oleg,

      Your poor victim routine is making me wince.

      Nobody owes you an apology. You're simply being too sensitive.


    10. The Torch,

      Here's how.

      1. Open a new browser window.
      2. Search for my comments on this blog.
      3. Find a comment that indicates that I am an anti-Catholic bigot.
      4. Post a link to it.

      It's pretty simple.

    11. Joey,

      I have seen enough of TRISH not to expect an apology. Issuing an apology (even just a retraction) would be the right thing for her to do. I don't need one. I have a thick skin.

    12. I read this thread, Oleg. You doubt you will receive an apology because you don't deserve one. You have not been slighted.

      You are extremely evasive in your answers. They've asked you where you stand, and your only response is that you're not answering the question until you get an apology.

      Why can't you just answer the question? It's very simple.

      Little John

    13. Little John,

      I don't think I need to establish that I am not a bigot. TRISH needs to establish that I am one. Period.

      To help you understand why it's her burden and not mine, let me suggest that you prove that you are not a child molester.

    14. Oleg,

      I'm not apologizing. Are you going to hold your breath now? Your silent treatment is not much of a threat. Sometimes my children do that to me. They get mad and say they're not going to speak to me. The peace and quiet is wonderful.


    15. TRISH, I am aware that you are not. And I hope you are enjoying the peace and quite in your mind today. You deserve it.

    16. Oleg, you're worse than Bachfiend.

      Even when you say you're giving me the silent treatment, you still won't stop talking to me.

      Bachfiend was really cute. He got all fed up with Dr. Egnor and said that he was never coming back to this site. Like that was some kind of threat! Ha, ha. He thought we were going to miss him when he was gone, and then we'd feel burnt.

      Then he checked back to see what our reaction was and got in a big fight with Egnor. I asked him why he was still sticking around and he said that he was only going to follow the blog until the end of May because he was counting the number of posts that went up during that month.

      And now he sneaks back under an assumed name.

      You really remind me of him. You can't employ the silent treatment because you're always trying to have the last word.

    17. That was TRISH, by the way.

    18. TRISH,

      I didn't wow be silent. I wrote that I would not be answering your questions. That's not exactly the same, right?

  7. So, JQ, it's you are either with us or against us? No middle ground?

    And how about you take a stand and let TRISH know what you think of her outburst?

  8. >>So, JQ, it's you are either with us or against us? No middle ground?<<

    You don't have to agree with us on a religious basis. But you have to support our rights.

    Well, you don't have to. You should. That's what a minimally decent human being would do.

    By the way, are there any other groups of people whose civil rights you take middle ground on? Black people, perhaps? Do you tell "all your black friends" that you're kind of riding the fence when it comes to their civil rights? Or is it just ours?

    Anti-Christian prejudice is an epedemic in American society. This blog is a magnet for it. I'm just asking you why you never respond to bigoted comments like the one above. I think it's because you don't think they're bigoted at all. And you agree.

    >>And how about you take a stand and let TRISH know what you think of her outburst?<<

    Trish's "outburst" wasn't a bigoted comment. It's in a no way comparable to what Anonymous said above.

    I'm not sure what I'm supposed to find objectionable in what she said. You're trying very hard to play the victim here, Oleg, but I think you're overplaying the role. It's like bad high school drama club.

  9. This isn't about freedom of religion at all, it's about the religious nut jobs' desire to be above the law when they feel the law violates their religious sensibilities. It's about not wanting to lose privilege.

    So tell me, should a catholic employer be obliged to pay for insurance coverage of the clap, when such clap has been caught during premarital sex?

    PS it's a pretty bizarre system where employers have to pay for insurance of employees in the first place.

  10. Wait, JQ. Not only do you find nothing objectionable in TRISH calling me a bigot with no justification whatsoever, but you also ask me to prove that I am not a bigot? Do I get it right that unless I support Catholics, I am an anti-Catholic bigot?

  11. That's correct. I don't find anything objectionable about you being called a bigot.

    Perhaps you'll conclude from my answer that I also think that you're a bigot. I do. When I say that I have no problem with Trish's comment, there's an assumption that I must agree with it.

    And when I ask you over and over again how you feel about the religious freedom and anti-Christian hostility, and the only response I get is, "Can't I just take the middle ground?", I know that you agree with it too.

    You wink and nod at the bigotry on this blog. The abuse is absolutely staggering, and you think it's fine.

    I don't think for a moment that you would ever tell a black person, "So, it's you are either with us or against us? No middle ground?" Is that a fair assumption? No, I think you see prejudice and discrimination against blacks as a moral question that everyone must answer. Fencesitting is not acceptable. I basically told you that if you consider yourself a non-bigot when it comes to Christians, it's time to show it, and you said that you'd rather occupy the middle ground. That's when I concluded that I was talking to a genuine bigot.

    Imagine Trish's situation. You want her to apologize. Let's say she does. Then, you answer her question because you've received the apology that you so coveted. Then you say that yes, as a matter of fact, you do agree with the contraceptive mandate. Then her apology becomes one that she never could have made, because you proved her right.

    Are you even willing to admit that anti-Christian prejudice is a problem in this country? Are you willing to admit that some people are bristle with contempt at the mention of religious subjects?


  12. >>Do I get it right that unless I support Catholics, I am an anti-Catholic bigot?<<



  13. Oh, well, JQ. Let's see where your logic leads us.

    You don't support atheists, so you are an anti-atheist bigot. Are you OK with that?

  14. Joey,

    I don't thinks Catholics should be compared to Nazis. I certainly condemn such comparisons.

  15. No, I do support atheists.

    They have the same right to not believe that I have to believe.

    I know some people who don't believe in God. It doesn't bother me at all. I don't think atheists are evil boogeymen.

    I'm not picking a fight with atheists. There is however, a certain group of atheists that has picked a fight with me and anyone else who believes in God. They aren't all atheists. It's possible to not believe in God and not belong to this group.


  16. In the movie "For Greater Glory", the National League for Defense of Religious Liberty is an organization that attempted to change government policy toward Catholics in a peaceful way, through boycotts and such. They eventually decided that the obstinate government didn't give a crap about their rights and they had to do more.

    They went out and hired a retired general to be supreme commander of the Cristero troops. That was Enrique Gotostera.

    The funny thing is that General Gotostera was, at the beginning of the film at least, an atheist. He said something to the extent of, "I don't believe in God and I have my issues with the Catholic Church, but I do believe in religious freedom."

    He didn't say, in the midst of oppression, "surely there must be some middle ground. The government is way out of control here, and I'm not for it, but I'm not against it either."

    The general represents the type of atheist we need in this day and age. If that's the type of atheist you are, that's great. Join us. That's what I said in a post way, way up this thread. We'd prefer to have you freedom-loving atheists on our side.


  17. How come only the employer gets to decide, even for Church-affiliated but non-Church services that accept funds from the State and that the employee also pays in to? Does management have utero-supremacy? Do employers have rights but employees have only privileges?

    How come (/me asks knowingly) this wasn't an issue when 28 states had mandated contraception coverage, only coming to a quick boil after Obama came out for it?

    Who knew that Catholic-affiliated employers having to provide ladyparts coverage even for non-Catholic employees was such an outrage?

    What about the employee's religious liberty?

  18. Oleg,

    I assume you mean homosexual when you say gay.

    Marriage is not a right. It appears nowhere in the constitution, as opposed to the free exercise of religion which is our first freedom.

    Non-constitutional rights do not have equal standing with constitutional rights.

    Homosexuals do, however, have the same opportunity to marry in every state. They can marry a person of the opposite sex because that's what a marriage is. Their lack of interest in doing that does not mean that they "can't get married." They simply choose not to.

    And yes, I'm sure you'd call me an anti-"gay" bigot. Feel better now?

    So, why did you ask me:

    >>Do I get it right that unless I support Catholics, I am an anti-Catholic bigot?<<

    Is it because you don't support Catholics? Is that why?


  19. It’s Christians who are assaulting the liberty of others by making obtaining contraception more difficult. Maximal religious liberty demands that individuals make choices with regards to their own beliefs without the imposition of restrictions by religious organizations meant to affects those choices.


  20. Re the subject: I am glad to see the Christian community take a stand, but I am not sure how effective the approach will be.

    Re: Oleg.
    This is not going to make me popular on here, but it needs to be put down for the 'record'.
    I have seen Oleg make some pronouncements and arguments I don't like. He has even personally insulted my intelligence and called me 'crazy' when upset by things I have written....
    But I can honestly say I do not recall him writing anything that would frame him as an anti-religious / Catholic bigot. Maybe it escapes me, but I cannot recall any such commentary.
    A positivist? Sure. He has said things that make me thing he has that leaning. Philosophically ignorant? Perhaps. Religiously simplistic/naive? Sure.
    Arrogant in his scientific stance? It could be interpreted that way.
    But, a bigot? No. Not Oleg.
    I just cannot recall him doing so. I would not personally bracket him in the names listed above.
    I may be be suffering from a memory lapse, or I may have missed it - but I, for one, cannot pin that one on him.
    The biggest fault I could pin on Oleg is that I have yet to see him stand AGAINST those bigots... but that is not exactly his reason for commenting on this blog, is it?