What Kind of Religious Freedom Do We Want?

We are living at a time when the Church in the United States must vigorously defend herself against attacks on religious freedom. In particular, the government is trying to force believers to violate their consciences when it comes to what kind of services their companies’ health insurance policies will cover. Priests for Life is proud to have launched one of the first lawsuits against this unjust mandate of our government, and we are confident we will prevail.

Yet part of defending religious freedom is defending a clear understanding of what it is. We don’t only have to defend it against the government; we have to defend it from misunderstanding and misinterpretation.

And one of the most dangerous misunderstandings is to confuse religious freedom with relativism — to think, in other words, that it’s simply the idea that “you can practice your religion if you let me practice mine,” because, after all, one religion is as good as the next.

But it’s not. There is such a thing as religious truth, and moral truth, and we are capable of knowing them.

At the core of authentic religious freedom is the conviction that human persons, because of their dignity, must seek the truth and embrace it freely — not the idea that such truth does not exist or is a product of one’s own making.

Put another way, freedom does not create truth; it is meant to lead to truth.

Professor Janet Smith wrote recently,

“Bishop William Lori argued that making Catholics fund contraceptives, abortifacient contraception and sterilizations is like making kosher delis serve pork. Actually, it is more like making all of us, and particularly the Anti-Smoking League, fund cigarettes.

“Jews do not argue that eating pork is something no one should do, but Catholics do argue that using contraception is something no one should do; among other reasons, the Church condemns it as against the natural law; it is against the health of women, the health of relationships and the health of society.”  (National Catholic Register, March 12, 2012)

This is a critically important point. Many are fond of saying that this fight isn’t about the issues of contraception and abortion. On the other hand, it cannot be disconnected from them. The other side doesn’t disconnect them.

Abortion advocate Patricia Baird Windle declared that abortion is part of her religion. ” You practice your religion and let me practice mine. My religion is a holy ritual of child sacrifice,” she has declared. Ginette Paris wrote the book The Sacrament of Abortion. And when the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances law was passed in 1994, it included not only abortion clinics but also houses of worship. In the days of Operation Rescue, when pro-life activists blockaded abortion clinics, some abortion advocates retaliated by blockading Churches. They were returning insult for insult, for to them, the clinic is their place of worship.

So let’s be sure we’re clear about what kind of religious liberty we want to defend: one that serves the truth about life!

Today’s Pro-Life Reflection











This reflection is taken from my book Pro-Life Reflections for Every Day, which is available for purchase at: ProLifeReflectionsForEveryDay.org

“All have a responsibility for developing legislative projects which will contribute to a society in which the dignity of each person is recognized” (The Gospel of Life, 90).

Reflection: The law called the “Born Alive Infants Protection Act” states that babies born alive at any time of gestation, even as a result of a failed abortion, are to be treated as persons under the law. To be able to protect unwanted babies after a failed abortion brings us one step closer to protecting them before an abortion.

Prayer: Lord, please hasten the progress being made in our laws for the protection of life! Amen.

The Final Goal










No law can legitimize an act of violence like abortion. At the same time, lawmakers who want to restore protection to the unborn are usually limited in how much of that protection they can restore right away. Certain laws can restore some protection now, but leave many babies unprotected. Most people understand that it is morally acceptable to pass such laws, even though they are still short of the final goal. However, certain conditions must be fulfilled in order to support such laws morally. For one thing, the law has to accomplish the maximum amount of protection that is possible at the moment. We must never aim lower than what we have the legislative support to achieve now. Furthermore, legislators must make it known that in the end, no law can permit even a single abortion, and that the final goal is to protect every child.

Today’s Pro-Life Reflection










This reflection is taken from my book Pro-Life Reflections for Every Day, which is available for purchase at: ProLifeReflectionsForEveryDay.org

“For here we have no lasting city, but we are seeking the one that is to come” (Hebrews 13:14).

Reflection: The Church has always held that the State does not contain the fullness of human hope or embrace the totality of human existence. The State rather, exists for the human person, not the other way around. That is why governments either have to protect human rights, or have to be reformed. Human law is always subject to Divine law: only the latter can claim our absolute obedience.

Prayer: Lord, as I strive for my heavenly home, I thank you for my earthly home; may I work to improve it. Amen.

Father Pavone hails House vote to repeal Affordable Care Act









STATEN ISLAND, NY – Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, issued the following statement today following the House vote to repeal the federal Affordable Care Act.

“The health care law that President Obama signed two years ago and the U.S. Supreme Court upheld last month presents grave threats to unborn babies and imposes intolerable burdens on every citizen who valueshuman life. I commend the House of Representatives for voting for repeal.”

“As it stands now,” Father Pavone continued, “Americans in 34 states will have to pay an abortion premium if they are enrolled in insurance plans through their state exchange. Also, thanks to a secrecy clause in the law, insurance plans and state exchanges cannot disclose the monthly cost of the abortion premium. This is an injustice that every American should oppose, whether they are pro-life or not. This is not the American way.”

The Affordable Care Act also includes the Health and Human Services mandate that employers, including faith-based organizations like Priests for Life, provide contraception, abortifacient drugs and sterilization services to their employees free of charge. Priests for Life in February filed one of the first lawsuits against this unjust mandate, and that suit is continuing.

“I am and always have been in favor of health care reform,” Father Pavone said. “But the concerns that Priests for Life has voiced from the beginning about the law in its current form, particularly regarding abortion and the HHS mandate, override everything. “

Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.


Roe vs. Wade









What did Roe vs. Wade say about abortion in the latest stages of pregnancy?

“For the stage subsequent to viability the State may, if it chooses, regulate, and even proscribe, abortion except where necessary for the life or health of the mother”  Note that Roe vs Wade prohibits no abortion at any time during pregnancy. An abortionist may kill a healthy baby of a healthy mother right up to and including her delivery date.  And since the Court has such a broad definition of “health,” even if a state wants to ban abortions in the final months, it cannot do so effectively.  As the University of Detroit Law Review pointed out in a 1990 article, “The Supreme Court’s decisions…allowed abortion on demand throughout the entire nine months of pregnancy” Indeed, Roe vs. Wade is extreme.

PFL Youth Outreach Director at Center of First Amendment Lawsuit












Priests for Life Youth Outreach Director Bryan Kemper is a plaintiff in a new First Amendment lawsuit filed against Sinclair Community College in Ohio and its campus police.

On June 8, Kemper, the founder of Stand True Ministry, was a speaker at the Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally at the college. The rally was one of 100 such rallies taking place across the country that day to protest the Obama administration’s mandate that all employers have to provide free contraception, abortifacient drugs and sterilization services for their workers.

Campus police would not allow demonstrators to hold their signs at the rally, continuing a tradition of First Amendment violations that, according to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), has been going on at the school for 22 years.

“Schools are meant for the free expression of ideas, but Sinclair has taken the stance that its students must check their free speech rights at the door,” said Peter Breen executive director and legal counsel of the Thomas More Society, which filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio on behalf of two Sinclair students and Kemper.

“It is imperative that we fight for our rights to not be taken away or it will be almost impossible to fight to get them back,” Kemper said. “I am fighting this injustice not just for me, but for my son Jaemison, who was there watching the rights of so many being trampled.

“ Jaemison may only be 7 years old,” Kemper continued, “but he and his and his siblings will someday face a situation when their rights and liberties may be challenged.  I want him to have the courage and the means to stand true when that day comes and to know that his father refused to cower in the face of adversity.”

Priests for Life organized the well-attended New York City Stand Up Rally, at which attendees, like those all over the country, were able to express themselves with signs and placards. Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, said of the Ohio situation:

“Thank you, Sinclair Community College and police department. There are few better ways to motivate pro-life people than to tell them to shut up. I’m not sure if it’s our message or the First Amendment that you don’t fully understand, but we’re going to see to it that you learn more about both.”

To view the lawsuit, go to http://scr.bi/MaypVf

Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.

Today’s Pro-Life Reflection










This reflection is taken from my book Pro-Life Reflections for Every Day, which is available for purchase at: ProLifeReflectionsForEveryDay.org

“Jesus spoke to men a message of peace, and taught us to live as brothers. His message took form in the vision of our fathers as they fashioned a nation where men might live as one. This message lives on in our midst as a task for men today and a promise for tomorrow. We thank you, Father, for your blessings in the past, and for all that with your help we must yet achieve” (Preface, Liturgy for Independence Day)

Reflection: The pro-life work we do advances the purpose of today’s celebration: liberty and justice for all.

Prayer: Lord, grant the blessings of liberty to our unborn brothers and sisters. Amen.

Today’s Pro-Life Reflection








 This reflection is taken from my book Pro-Life Reflections for Every Day, which is available for purchase at: ProLifeReflectionsForEveryDay.org

“May the Lord cause your love to increase and overflow for one another and for everyone else” (1Thessalonians 3:12).

Reflection: The Pope and bishops have told us that we are not to “accommodate ourselves” to laws permitting abortion. This means much more than simply not having or participating in an abortion. It means not letting anything keep us from loving and defending the unborn. Laws permitting abortion try to “cap” our love for these children by telling us we cannot prohibit someone from killing them.

Prayer: Lord, let my love overflow all boundaries, that I may resist anyone’s effort to limit my love for those who are in danger of death. Amen.

Prayer of Thanks for our Nation’s Independence












The celebration of our nation’s independence is an important moment to reflect on the blessings of God, the meaning of freedom, and the task to expand the blessings of freedom to our unborn brothers and sisters who are still enslaved by our nation’s abortion policies.

That’s why Priests for Life begins today a special novena of prayer for our nation, in preparation for Independence Day. You can download the prayer at priestsforlife.org.

The prayer reminds us that our Founding Fathers took inspiration from the Gospel in founding this nation, and that our task is to secure liberty and justice not just for some, but for all, including the unborn.

Please visit priestsforlife.org, download the Independence Day Novena, and invite your family, pro-life groups, schools and parishes to take part in it.