Protecting our first freedom Print
Written by Mary C. Uhler   
Thursday, May. 24, 2012 -- 12:00 AM

Editor's View by Mary C. Uhler

Many of the early settlers to our land came to  America in order to practice their faith freely.

It was so important that the very First Amendment to the United States Constitution says: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Threats to religious liberty

However, what Pope Benedict XVI has called the “most cherished of American freedoms” — our religious liberty — is being threatened in many ways. We have heard much discussion about the Health and Human Services mandate requiring insurance coverage of contraception, sterilization, and abortion. But that is not the only way freedom of religion and conscience is being threatened today.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Web site has a fact sheet on many other current threats to religious liberty (go to

Among them are: revoking licenses and contracts for foster care and adoption services for Catholic Charities; state immigration laws that forbid help provided by the Church for Christian charity and pastoral care for immigrants; discrimination against Church congregations for renting public schools; discrimination against Catholic humanitarian services; denying status to Christian student organizations on college campuses; and forcing religious groups to host same-sex “marriage” or civil union ceremonies.

The bishops say, “This threat to religious freedom is larger than any single case or issue and has its roots in secularism in our culture.”

Fortnight for Freedom

What can we do to protect religious freedom? The U.S. bishops have called for a Fortnight for Freedom from June 21 to July 4. Visit for more information on this important time of prayer, education, and action in support of religious liberty.

More information will be included in next week’s Catholic Herald on what is happening in the Diocese of Madison during these two weeks.