Leaders from dozens of Christian denominations who will gather at Constitution Hall on Friday, January 25, for the National Memorial for the Preborn and their Mothers and Fathers will issue a strong call for religious liberty.
"The fundamental right is the right to life," said Fr. Frank Pavone, President of the National Pro-life Religious Council. "Closely following it is the right to religious freedom. Both are under attack in America today. To defend life, we must be free to speak and act with a conscience that holds the right to life in absolute respect. And that does not just mean in Church on Sunday. It means at work on Monday, and in fact every hour of every day."
At the national prayer service to be held on the 25th, the day of the March for Life, from 8:30 to 10:30am at Constitution Hall, a strong declaration in favor of religious freedom will be proclaimed, and all present will be asked to commit themselves to work throughout the year to defend these closely connected rights, life and liberty.
Other religious leaders made clear their commitment to defending religious freedom:
Rev. J. Kirk van der Swaagh, Vice-President of the National Pro-life Religious Council and delegate of the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference stated,
"It is indisputable that the framers of the Constitution understood both religious freedom and freedom of speech as rights that accorded with the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Government was not to be in the business of telling people how to live out their faith or muzzling their expressions of belief, whether offered verbally or in actions. They understood to do so would prove self-destructive as it would curtail the pursuit of human flourishing, an enterprise the church has been engaged with throughout its history. Are we now to accept that such lofty ideals, such guaranteed rights, are unlawful and unwanted? The church will continue to promote and defend such rights and ideals even as the government thwarts and disparages them."
"Just as Life is our first right because from it arise all other rights, so religious liberty is our first freedom because from it arise all other freedoms," added Fr. Paul CB Schenck, Director, National Pro-life Center.
"Presbyterians have understood for hundreds of years that ‘God alone is Lord of the conscience,’ a phrase from the Westminster Confession adopted by the Scottish ‘Kirk’ in 1647 and brought to America by the Puritans and Scotch-Irish Presbyterians. In 1729 this standard for freedom of the religious conscience was formally adopted by the newly organized Presbyterian synod in the colonies. Individual religious freedom remains a treasured principle of all Presbyterian denominations today," explained Marie Bowen, Executive Director, Presbyterians Pro-life.
"Religious Freedom is a core principle for our nation and as religious leaders we simply cannot allow this treasure of liberty to be taken away under our watch," added Fr. Terry Gensemer, Director, CEC For Life (International Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church).
For information on the details of the National Prayer Service on January 25, visit NationalPrayerService.com