Archbishop Chaput on how Catholic teachings become hate crimes
"Threats to our religious freedom are not imaginary. They are happening right now. They are immediate, serious and real."
This is how Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia describes what he called "a pattern of government coercion" over religious practice and belief, including the US government's current attempt to compel Catholic organisations to offer insurance cover for contraception and abortion-inducing drugs.
The so-called "HHS Mandate" has provoked 43 Catholic organizations to sue the Government and led to the bishops declaring a "Fortnight for Freedom", beginning today. As Archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles explains in First Things:
[O]ur freedoms are ... being eroded as the result of constant agitation from de-Christianizing and secularizing elements in American society. In the public arena, we’ve seen relentless efforts to get Church agencies to go along with secular agendas that violate Catholic beliefs—from trying to force Catholic hospitals to perform abortions and sterilizations, to trying to coerce Catholic adoption agencies to place children with homosexual couples.In our wider culture, Christian faith and values are increasingly portrayed—in the media, in the courts, even in comments from high government officials—as a form of bigotry. In our diverse, pluralistic society, it seems sometimes that Christianity is becoming the one lifestyle that can’t be tolerated to have a role in public life.
"Tomorrow we start a Fortnight for Freedom," Chaput told the 2012 Catholic Media Conference. "It is a moment for each of us to be grateful to our bishops for doing the right thing ... at the right time. If we don't press now and vigorously for our religious liberty in the public arena, we will lose it. Not overnight, not with a thunderclap, but step by step."