The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is rightly concerned that religious freedom as we’ve known it in this country for hundreds of years is increasingly under assault – by our own government! In an open letter to his fellow bishops, Bishop Dolan, President of the United State Conference of Catholic Bishops lists numerous examples of government laws, policies, and regulations that have been propounded without any regard for the religious liberty upon which they are trampling. He notes that the Department of Health and Human Services has recently required religious organizations to provide a broad range of reproductive services (such as abortion) to employees and/or the people being served by the ministry – many of which are in clear violation of the religious teachings of Roman Catholics as well as many Protestant denominations. The Department of Justice has refused to defend laws protecting marriage, and recently argued before the Supreme Court in the EEOC v. Hosanna-Tabor case that the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment doesn’t provide any special protection for churches from governmental interference with their decisions to hire ministers.
All church leaders should heed Bishop Dolan’s call for vigilance and action. If we tolerate these intrusions on church freedom and independence from governmental control, we are setting ourselves up for eventual loss of the freedom to worship and live our lives as the Bible dictates. If your church’s ministry is being restricted in any way, or government officials are requiring your church to govern itself in a manner that violates its religious principles, contact the Alliance Defense Fund at TellAdf.org right away. We have over 30 attorneys on staff and a department specifically dedicated to defending the Church’s right to hear and speak the Truth on a pro bono basis. We also have over 2,000 allies that have committed to provide legal services to churches free of charge. Please contact us if your church is experiencing the assault Bishop Dolan has clearly identified. We will stand with you to make sure these attacks on religious freedom are not successful.