Wednesday, September 17, 2014

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Catholic Education Daily

 

Use Religious Freedom to Evangelize the Culture, Argues Bishop Conley

In an article about the importance of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case against the HHS mandate, Bishop James Conley of the Lincoln Diocese, writing for the Southern Nebraska Register, sounded a call for the importance of evangelization in the face of aggressive secularization.

Bishop Conley wrote that the furor against the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision displayed “how toxic our culture has become to faith in public life” and also “exposed the bald aggression of secularists, whose loyalties lie more closely with unfettered sexual libertinism than with respect for fundamental rights of conscience, of religion, or of personal dignity.”

The high court’s recent decision, however, did restore some measure of religious freedom, he wrote.

The Supreme Court’s decision ruled that “closely held” for-profit companies could refuse to provide coverage of abortifacients, contraceptives and sterilization procedures despite the requirements of the Obama administration’s mandate. “The Hobby Lobby decision is an affirmation that believers have a place in the public square — that all of us should be free to conduct our business without compromising our basic moral beliefs,” wrote Bishop Conley.

However, he also warned that the fight for religious freedom is far from finished. “Churches, hospitals, and universities are still threatened by the federal HHS contraceptive mandate,” he said. “And the outcome of that fight is not yet clear.”

Several religious institutions, including many Catholic colleges, have sued to free themselves of the requirements of the mandate. Those cases, filed by non-profit organizations, are working their way through the lower courts and most legal analysts suspect that they too will eventually be decided by the Supreme Court.

Bishop Conley added that the forces of secularization won’t be pushed back simply by court cases though. “If we want to protect our religious liberty, the very best thing we can do is to use it - to transform culture by transforming hearts for Jesus Christ,” he wrote.

“Hobby Lobby is a mandate for evangelization” he concluded. “An evangelized culture, the Holy Father says, will be a just culture.  Justice is the fruit of faith.”

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