Catholic Bishops in the United States are doing something a bit different — they are holding a “Fortnight for Freedom” across the United States to call attention to what they say is an erosion of their first amendment rights. Thursday was the start of the two weeks of masses and prayer services where Catholics are praying for “religious liberty.”
The Iowa Catholic Conference’s Tom Chapman says it means freedom of religion should extend beyond church walls so that Catholics can do work in the world. He says that’s not happening.
“There’s been several examples over the past few years of some things that have caused some concern,” Chapman says. He says the Bishop’s conference provided the contract for human trafficking victims, but because they won’t refer for abortion and contraception they lost the contract.
And then there was the Obama administrations mandate that all employers – including Catholic ones provide reproductive health care for their employees. He says these are things is an example of how their first amendment rights are being chipped away.
Chapman says, “There’s been a lot of talk lately about freedom of worship which is fine but that’s a lot different than freedom of religion. I mean freedom of worship is fine for you to go between your four walls and worship the way you want, but we are talking about going into the community.”
Chapman says even though the Bishops are pushing back against some of President Obama’s policies, they’re not playing partisan politics. But he admits everything is political in an election year.