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Religious Freedom

                                                                         Religious FReedom             November 10, 2011 • B1

 The Most Sacr ed of All Propert y:

Religious Freedom                                                                                              A statement from the Catholic 
a nd the People of M a ry l a nd                                                                               Bishops of Maryland

    “Conscience is the most sacred of all
    property; other property depending in
    part on positive law, the exercise of that,
    being a natural and unalienable right.”
                                         – James Madison, Property, 1792

          r 31 years, the Greater Baltimore       more about this urgent matter and join 
        Center  for  Pregnancy  Concerns          us in taking positive steps to safeguard 
        has had a simple mission: to help         religious  liberty  for  generations  to 
expectant mothers in need. Since 1980,            come.
the Center has provided pregnant wom-
en with material and emotional support            A Place of Toleration
such  as  diapers,  clothing,  furniture,           Religious liberty in this country
parenting  classes,  and  adoption  refer-        began with the founding of Mary-
rals. In a city where more than 20 per-           land. We must honor our state’s
cent of residents live in poverty, more           unique role in the preservation and
than  1,000  women  each  year  receive           promotion of this fundamental prin-
personal  assistance  through  the  good          ciple of government.
work  of  the  Greater  Baltimore  Center           In 1634, a mix of Catholic and Prot-
for Pregnancy Concerns.                           estant  settlers  arrived  at  St.  Clement’s 
  The  Greater  Baltimore  Center  for            Island  in  Southern  Maryland  from 
Pregnancy Concerns is the kind of char-           England aboard the Ark and the Dove. 
itable organization that public officials         They had come at the invitation of the 
should promote. Yet simply because the            Catholic  Lord  Baltimore,  who  had 
Center has a pro-life mission, it was tar-        been granted Maryland by the Protes-
geted  by  a  2009  Baltimore  ordinance          tant King Charles I of England. While 
that  subjected  it  and  other  pro-life         Catholics and Protestants were killing 
pregnancy centers to compelled speech             each  other  in  Europe,  Lord  Baltimore 
requirements.  No  similar  restrictions          imagined Maryland as a society where 
were  placed  on  abortion  clinics.  The         people  of  different  faiths  could  live 
Center  was  forced  to  file  a  lawsuit         together peacefully. 
in  federal  court  to  defend  its  right  to      This  vision  was  soon  codified  in 
free speech.                                      Maryland’s 1649 Act Concerning Reli-
  Sadly,  the  experience  of  the  Greater       gion (also called the “Toleration Act”), 
Baltimore  Center  for  Pregnancy  Con-           which was the first law in our nation’s 
cerns is not an isolated one. Efforts to          history to protect an individual’s right 
restrict  the  rights  of  individuals  and       to  freedom  of  conscience.  But  Mary-
institutions  because  of  their  religious       land’s early history teaches us that, like 
or  moral  beliefs  are  on  the  rise  here      any freedom, religious liberty requires 
in  Maryland  and  around  the  nation.           constant vigilance and protection, or it 
Religious  liberty  –  a  right  rooted  in       will disappear. 
our  human  dignity  and  protected                 Maryland’s  experiment  in  religious 
by  the  First  Amendment  to  the  U.S.          toleration ended within a few decades. 
Constitution  –  is  being  silently  and         The  colony  was  placed  under  royal 
subtly eroded.                                    control  and  the  Church  of  England 
  We  know  that  religious  liberty  is          became  the  established  religion.  Dis-
a  foundational  element  of  a  vibrant          criminatory laws, including the loss of 
democracy  and  helps  guarantee  those           political  rights,  were  enacted  against 
other  precious  freedoms  we  Ameri-             those who refused to conform. Catholic 
cans enjoy. The only way to preserve it           chapels were closed and Catholics were 
is  through  the  vigilance  of  concerned        restricted  to  practicing  their  faith  in 
citizens and their willingness to stand           their homes. The Catholic community 
up for this right. So we invite you, dear         lived  under  these  conditions  until  the 
brothers and sisters in Christ, to learn          American Revolution.
B2 • November 10, 2011 • The Catholic Review                                   RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

                               The First Freedom                            Each person is made in the image
                                  The right of religious liberty had     and likeness of God. We are there-
   ‘We find ourselves          long been denied in Europe when           fore made to know Him and to seek
                               Maryland’s early settlers promot-         His truth. The Lord – as evidenced
   faced with other            ed it in the mid-17th century. But        by the incarnation, death, and resur-
   kinds of threats to         by the end of the 18th century our        rection of His Son – wishes to unite
                               nation’s founders embraced freedom        us with Himself. Yet Christ came to
   the full exercise of        of religion as an essential condition     convince, not to compel. He offers us
   religious freedom.          of a free and democratic society.         His love but He does not force us to
                                  James Madison, often called the        accept it. The Lord respects our free-
   I think in the first        Father of the Constitution, described     dom to accept Him or to reject Him;
   place of countries          conscience as “the most sacred of all     so too must government and society.
                               property.”1 He wrote that “the Reli-         Religious freedom, therefore, is
   which accord                gion then of every man must be left       an essential element of the human
   great importance            to the conviction and conscience of       person and a basic human right.
                               every man; and it is the right of every   As Pope Benedict XVI explained,
   to pluralism and            man to exercise it as these may dic-      “Openness to truth and perfect            voiceless in political debates, the      rights movement was a religious
   tolerance, but              tate.”2 George Washington wrote that      goodness, openness to God, is root-       Quaker minority strove to remind         movement. Its leader was a Baptist
                               “the establishment of Civil and Reli-     ed in human nature; it confers full       their fellow citizens that they could    minister and it expressed an explic-
   where religion is           gious Liberty was the Motive that         dignity on each individual and is         not simply legislate or define away      itly religious call for the equal treat-
   increasingly being          induced me to the field of battle.”3      the guarantee of full mutual respect      the humanity and inherent dignity        ment of African Americans. It was
                                  It is therefore no surprise that       between persons. Religious free-          of African slaves.                       in this context that Rev. Dr. Martin
   marginalized.               when the framers of our Constitu-         dom should be understood, then, not         Those who suffer from mental           Luther King Jr. wrote from a Bir-
   There is a                  tion adopted a Bill of Rights, reli-      merely as immunity from coercion,         or physical disabilities are often       mingham jail to his fellow minis-
                               gious freedom was given the dis-          but even more fundamentally as an         ignored or, at times, even outright      ters about the difference between
   tendency to                 tinction of being at the forefront        ability to order one’s own choices in     rejected by society. Religious indi-     just and unjust laws – a concept that
   consider religion,          of the First Amendment. The First         accordance with truth.”4                  viduals and groups have played a         presupposes a higher law. While
                               Amendment, modeled in part on                Thus religious freedom protects        key role in reminding society of         Rev. King argued that there is a
   all religion,               Maryland’s Act Concerning Reli-           the ability to practice any faith or      their intrinsic human dignity and        legal and moral responsibility to
   as something                gion, guarantees that “Congress           no faith. It defends a person’s right     need to respect their value and          obey just laws, he cited St. Augus-
                               shall make no law respecting an           to convert from one faith to another.     worth. Eunice Kennedy Shriver, a         tine for the principle that “an unjust
   insignificant,              establishment of religion or prohib-      It preserves the right to follow one’s    Catholic who had family experi-          law is no law at all.”
   alien or even               iting the free exercise thereof.” It is   conscience, in acts both internal and     ence with an intellectual disabil-          Rev. King also explained the
                               this First Amendment that provides        external, in private and in public, as    ity, founded the Special Olympics        proper role of churches in society:
   destabilizing to            the foundation for our pluralistic        an individual and as a member of a        in 1968. Today it is a worldwide         “The church must be reminded that
   modern society,             society, in which people of different     community.                                movement to provide opportunities        it is not the master or the servant of
                               faiths and beliefs can live and wor-                                                to those with intellectual disabili-     the state, but rather the conscience
   and to attempt by           ship in peace.                            A Contribution to                         ties. The Church here in Maryland        of the state. ... It must be the guide
   different means                The primacy of religious liberty       the Common Good                           was a leader in successful efforts in    and the critic of the state, and never
                               was later similarly guaranteed in            Religious freedom is so funda-         1989 to ban the execution of those       its tool.”5 Rev. King’s message of
   to prevent it               the Maryland state Constitution and       mental to our nature that not only        with an intellectual disability.         equality and justice thus presup-
   from having any             in the United Nations’ Universal          does it uphold individual human             Workers’ rights have long been a       posed and deliberately relied upon a
                               Declaration of Human Rights.              dignity, but it is also integral to the   concern of the religious community       free and flourishing religious tradi-
   influence on the                                                      establishment of a good and just          in the United States. In 1887, Car-      tion to bring about its noble goals.
   life of society.’           A Natural Right                           society. Individuals who are free         dinal James Gibbons of Baltimore
                                 Religious freedom is not merely         to exercise religious liberty are free    published his famous memorial            Subtle Threats
      – Pope Benedict XVI,     a civil right afforded us by our          to live out their faith in service to     defending the Knights of Labor,            Americans are blessed to enjoy
  Address to the members of    government, but, more funda-              others and to build up the common         at that time the foremost national       freedoms for which many in our
      the diplomatic corps,    mentally, it is a natural right           good. For example, faith groups and       labor organization in the United         world can only hope, and for
              Jan. 10, 2011.   due each person because of his            religious organizations often are the     States. By advocating the funda-         that we should be truly grate-
                               human dignity.                            largest providers of private social       mental dignity of workers and            ful. But in recent years there has
                                                                         services, including hospitals and         their right to organize, he placed       been a subtle promotion of the
                                                                         health clinics, schools and universi-     the Catholic Church in the United        idea that religious liberty should
                                                                         ties, shelters and food pantries.         States squarely on the side of labor     be restricted to Sunday morning
                                                                            Religious liberty also enables         and helped influence the develop-        worship. The right to exercise our
                                                                         religious groups to provide a voice       ment of Catholic social teaching in      faith and follow our conscience in
                                                                         for the voiceless. At the dawn of our     this area.                               all aspects of our lives is a right
                                                                         nation, the Quakers led the charge          But perhaps the most striking          increasingly viewed with hostility.
                                                                         in publicly challenging our new           example of the good fruits of reli-      Below are some recent examples
                                                                         national government to abolish slav-      gious liberty was the civil rights       of religious liberty violations in the
                                                                         ery. When slaves themselves were          movement. In many ways, the civil        United States.

                                                                             James Madison, Property (Mar. 29, 1792).                     4
                                                                                                                                              Pope Benedict XVI, “Religious Freedom, the
                                                                             James Madison, Memorial and Remonstrance                         Path to Peace,” Message for the Celebration of the
                                                                             Against Religious Assessments (June 20, 1785).                   World Day of Peace (Jan. 1, 2011).
                                                                             Michael Novak and Jana Novak, Washington’s
                                                                                                                                              Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love
                                                                             God (2006).                                                      (1963).
                                                                                         RELIGIOUS FREEDOM                           • November 10, 2011 • B3

The Public Square                       in the last four years for the single     nurse who worked at a New York           inducing drugs, in addition to “edu-
  A healthy democracy can func-         reason that they do not provide or        City hospital. Ms. DeCarlo was           cation and counseling” for women
tion only when its citizens are able    refer for abortions.                      forced to participate – under threat     and girls of reproductive age.9 What         ‘The church must
to freely engage in public debate.         They were first targeted in the        of the loss of her job and her nurse’s   is missing is any real opt-out for the
That includes the freedom to            Maryland General Assembly in              license – in the abortion of a 22-       Catholic Church and other religious                be reminded
approach the public debate through      2008, when a bill would have              week-old fetus with Down syn-            institutions to not offer health insur-        that it is not the
the lens of faith and moral values.     forced them to tell clients that they     drome, even though she told her          ance with these mandates. Further-
As Catholics, we have a responsi-       are not required to provide “factu-       employer in her job interview and        more, individuals are given no pro-               master or the
bility to “contribute … to the good     ally accurate information.” That          later in writing that she was pro-       tection against contributing to these
                                                                                                                                                                            servant of the
of society in a spirit of truth, jus-   bill failed, but in November 2009         hibited by her Catholic faith from       procedures.
tice, solidarity, and freedom.”6 We     the Baltimore City Council passed         participating in abortions, and even                                                    state, but rather
participate in the public square not    a bill regulating the speech of pro-      though there were other nurses           Marriage and the
to impose our religious beliefs on      life centers by requiring them to         willing to take her place.               Family                                       the conscience of
others, but to propose the timeless     post a sign listing services they           • Conscience Rights of Health            For all the changes, for better or                  the state.’
and universal truth of the dignity of   do not provide (abortion and con-         Care Facilities                          for worse, that marriage and the
                                                                                                                                                                      – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther
the human person. This truth is the     traception) or face a daily fine.           The nation’s 600 Catholic hos-         family have experienced in recent
                                                                                                                                                                          King, Jr., Letter from
foundation of all of the Church’s       The Montgomery County Council             pitals annually serve millions of        decades, one factor has remained
                                                                                                                                                                              Birmingham Jail
advocacy. Catholics, as both faith-     soon approved a similar regula-           patients, including many who are         constant: Marriage is between one
ful members of the Church and as        tion. The Baltimore ordinance has         poor and uninsured. However, these       man and one woman. It is based not
citizens, bring these most cherished    been declared unconstitutional by a       same hospitals are finding them-         on a social prejudice, but rather on
values to the public debate.            federal court, and the Montgomery         selves under increased scrutiny for      the recognition that the union of a
  Sadly, some view the Church’s         County law has been enjoined by a         providing care in accordance with        man and woman is the only possible
very presence in the public square      court that found that it too is largely   their – our – religious beliefs. The     source – and their married relation-
as an act of imposition. They claim     unconstitutional.8 Much damage            American Civil Liberties Union           ship the best possible environment
that our identification as persons of   has already been done, however.           has asked the federal government         – for the children who will become
faith disqualifies us from partici-     Laws similar to Baltimore’s are           to investigate Catholic hospitals        society’s next generation. Efforts to         Maryland Catholic
pation in the public debate. During     now on the books in New York City         for declining to provide abortion        alter society’s longstanding defini-                 Conference
the recent nationwide debate on         and Austin, Texas. Even as courts         and emergency contraception. The         tion of marriage distort this impor-      Religious Liberty Task
health care reform, for example,        begin to overturn these laws, they        ACLU alleges that Catholic hos-          tant reality. Moreover, and despite              Force Members
some groups accused the Church          place a huge time and financial           pitals are violating federal law by      protestations to the contrary, they
of “hijack[ing] the legislative pro-    burden on these charitable organi-        adhering to their religious beliefs.     infringe upon the religious liberties        With gratitude for their
cess”7 when they argued that tax-       zations and are a distraction from          • Conscience Rights in Health          of individuals and institutions that      leadership, expertise and
payer funds should not be used to       their mission.                            Care Debate                              acknowledge heterosexual mar-
                                                                                                                                                                            faith-filled service
pay for abortions, a position the          • Conscience Rights of Health            As part of the U.S. Department of      riage not only as a fact of nature but
Church shares with the majority of      Care Workers                              Health and Human Services’ efforts       also as an article of faith.                John Garvey, Chairman
Americans.                                 Luke Vander Bleek owns a small-        to enact the 2010 Patient Protec-          • Maryland and Same-Sex
                                        town pharmacy in Morrison, Ill.,          tion and Affordable Care Act, the        Marriage                                        Kevin T. Baine, Esq.
Respect for Life                        that sells almost every drug – except     department is mandating that all           The Maryland General Assembly            Msgr. Owen F. Campion
  The most basic of all rights is       the “morning after pill,” to which        private health insurance plans cov-      in its 2011 session narrowly defeated
the right to life – the right upon      he has religious objections. Though       er surgical sterilization procedures     a bill that would redefine marriage       Stephen E. Jenkins, Esq.
which all other rights are based        a public hospital just a few blocks       and birth control, including IUD,        to include same-sex couples. Had
and without which all other rights      away sells it, the state of Illinois      “morning-after” pills and abortion-      the bill passed, however, it would
                                                                                                                                                                        David W. Kinkopf, Esq.
lose their meaning. This right is       threatened to close his business and                                                                                          Rev. Timothy A. Kulbicki,
especially precious to us as Catho-     end his career because he would not
                                                                                                                                                                             OFM Conv, H.E.D.
lics because we acknowledge God         sell this one particular drug. Mr.
as the author of life. Yet today in     Vander Bleek was forced to retain                                                                                                  Tricia T. Pyne, Ph.D.
the United States, the right to life    an attorney and file a lawsuit to
is often subjugated to the whims        defend his right to practice his pro-                                                                                              Mark L. Rienzi, J.D.
of convenience. Not only has the        fession in accordance with his reli-
right to life become conditional,       gious beliefs. Thankfully, an Illi-
so too has the right to demonstrate     nois trial court ruled in Mr. Vander
respect for life in one’s profession    Bleek’s favor. The trial revealed
and activities.                         that – despite the state’s claims to
  • Pregnancy Resource Centers          the contrary – religious objections
  Maryland’s       40     pregnancy     to emergency contraception had
resource centers (including the         never created a health problem in
Greater Baltimore Center for Preg-      Illinois. The claimed health emer-                                                                                           Photos courtesy of the
nancy Concerns) together freely         gency that required driving pro-life                                                                                         Archdiocese of Baltimore
serve about 30,000 pregnant wom-        pharmacists out of the profession                                                                                            (Bruce Weller), The Catholic
en a year. Yet they have been sin-      turned out not to exist at all.                                                                                              Review, the Archdiocese of
gled out for regulation three times        Catherina Cenzon DeCarlo is a                                                                                             Washington, Carroll Pub-
                                                                                                                                                                     lishing (Michael Hoyt, Rafa-
                                                                                                                                                                     el Crisostomo), the Diocese
    Catechism of the Catholic Church, par. 2239.                                         8
                                                                                             As of October 2011.                                                     of Wilmington, The Dialog
                                                                                                                                                                     (Don Blake), and the St.
    Statement of Planned Parenthood Federation of America Condemning                     9
                                                                                             As of November 2011.
    Passage of the Stupak/Pitts Amendment (November 2009).                                                                                                           Louis Review. All are used
                                                                                                                                                                     with permission.
B4 • November 10, 2011                                                    RELIGIOUS FREEDOM                                                                   The Catholic Review

                                                                                                            around. And rightly so: We cannot      conscience and religious freedom
                                                                                                            freely worship (or choose not to       with disdain or those who do not
                                                                                                            worship) God if government offi-       yet appreciate these gifts.
                                                                                                            cials have the power to tell us how      • Education
                                                                                                            to do so. Sadly, there has been a        Religious liberty and the right of
                                                                                                            growing trend of government            conscience will be further eroded
                                                                                                            intrusion into the institutional and   unless the Catholic community
                                                                                                            administrative life of the Church.     stays informed about the chal-
                                                                                                              One of the most alarming illus-      lenges these rights face and the
                                                                                                            trations of this trend occurred in     reasons why they are integral to a
                                                                                                            2009, when a bill was introduced       just society. We encourage you to
                                                                                                            in the Connecticut legislature that    share this statement with family
                                                                                                            would have allowed the state of        and friends so that they too may
                                                                                                            Connecticut to mandate the struc-      learn more about this issue. More
                                                                                                            ture and organization of Catho-        thorough examinations of this
                                                                                                            lic parishes (and only Catholic        issue may be found in “Dignitatis
                                                                                                            parishes; it applied to no other       Humanae,” which is the Second
                                                                                                            denominations). The measure,           Vatican Council’s Declaration on
                                                                                                            which ultimately failed, would         Religious Freedom, as well as
                                                                                                            have removed many administra-          “Religious Freedom, the Path to
                                                                                                            tive and pastoral responsibilities     Peace,” which was Pope Benedict
                            have done grave harm to religious       vided by Catholic Charities of the      from the pastor and placed them        XVI’s message for the 2011 World
   ‘Christians are          liberty by providing no protections     Archdiocese of Washington in its        instead in the hands of committees     Day of Peace. Our diocesan news-
                            to individuals and limited pro-         80 years of service was a partner-      whose membership was defined           papers are invaluable sources
   called, not only         tections to institutions to allow       ship with the District of Columbia      by the state legislature.              of information about current
   through their            them to maintain their sincere-         for its foster care and public adop-                                           threats to religious freedom and
                            ly held religious beliefs about         tion program. Then, in 2010, a law      Defending                              the Church’s efforts to support
   responsible              marriage.                               legalizing same-sex marriage in         Religious Freedom                      religious freedom.
   involvement in              Religious business owners such       the District took effect and the city     Where do we go from here?              • Action
                            as florists, bakers, musicians, or      informed Catholic Charities that it     Given all that we’ve discussed,          The most basic way for us to
   civic, economic          photographers would not have            would no longer be an eligible fos-     what do we do to preserve and          participate in the political pro-
   and political life       been able to decline to participate     ter care and adoption partner. The      strengthen the great gift of reli-     cess is by voting in local, state
                            in a same-sex marriage ceremony.        reason? Because, as a Catholic          gious liberty?                         and federal elections, an action
   but also through         This violation of rights is not hypo-   organization, Catholic Charities          • Prayer                             we should always undertake with
   the witness of           thetical. A Christian photographer      was devoted to placing children           Prayer is the most powerful tool     prayer and prudence. After that,
                            in New Mexico was found by that         in homes with both a mother and         we have. Conversation with Our         standing up for religious liberty
   their charity            state’s Human Rights Commis-            a father. Moreover, when District       Lord opens up wellsprings of grace     only takes one click of the key-
   and faith, to            sion to have engaged in illegal         residents appealed to bring the         that enable us to become effective     board or mouse. Our Maryland
                            discrimination after the company        issue of marriage before voters so      instruments in His hands and that      Catholic Advocacy Network, run
   offer a valuable         declined to photograph a same-sex       that they could have a voice in the     assist others in making prudent        by the Maryland Catholic Confer-
   contribution to          ceremony. A Methodist church in         debate, their request was repeat-       decisions. We must first thank         ence, provides updates on public
                            New Jersey lost its tax-exempt sta-     edly denied by the D.C. Board of        God for the great gift of religious    policy issues of concern and pro-
   the laborious            tus for declining to allow a same-      Elections.                              liberty and ask Him to help us to      vides pre-drafted emails to send
   and stimulating          sex couple to marry in a pavilion                                               use it wisely. We must pray for        to lawmakers and other public
                            it owned.                               Institutional                           our elected leaders and all public     officials on key issues. You can
   pursuit of justice,         Our state’s legislature is expect-   Concerns                                officials whose duties affect reli-    register online at www.mdcath-
   integral human           ed to take up the issue of marriage       The separation of church and          gious liberty. We must intercede There are also oppor-
                            again in 2012.                          state we so cherish here in Amer-       for those whose religious liberty      tunities to advocate for religious
   development and             • The District of Columbia           ica is as much about protecting         or right of conscience has been        liberty in person, such as the
   the right ordering       and Same-Sex Marriage                   religious bodies from government        violated. We must ask blessings        Catholic Lobby Night held every
                               Among the many services pro-         interference as it is the other way     on those who look on the right of      President’s Day in Annapolis.
   of human affairs.
   The exclusion              In closing, we call on all Marylanders – including those of our Catholic faith, other faiths, or no faith at all – to reaffirm the basic,
   of religion              foundational principles upon which our democratic society is built. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and reli-
                            gious belief. No one should be subject to coercion because of those beliefs. Everyone has the right to live in accordance with his or her
   from public              particular religious beliefs, subject only to such limits as are necessary for the safe operation of society. Society as a whole benefits when
   life deprives            all citizens in our pluralistic democracy – including religious citizens and institutions – remain free to participate in public life and to do
                            so in accordance with their sincerely held beliefs.
   the latter of a
                              These are the principles that those first Marylanders brought with them on the Ark and the Dove. These are the principles embraced
   dimension open           by our Founding Fathers and by our Church. These are the principles that are indeed the most sacred of all property.
   to transcendence.’
     – Pope Benedict XVI,
   Message for 2011 World
                                                                    Donald Cardinal Wuerl                   Most Rev. Edwin F. O’Brien             Most Rev. W. Francis Malooly
         Day of Peace, #7
                                                                    Archbishop of Washington                Apostolic Administrator                Bishop of Wilmington
                                                                                                            Archdiocese of Baltimore

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