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Archbishop Chaput sees US trending against religious liberty


KEVIN J. JONES

Source:
CNA
Type:
Media/Opinion
Date:
4/17/2012

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ABSTRACTArchbishop Chaput sees US trending against religious liberty :: Catholic News Agency (CNA) Editors Service About us Donate Spanish Portuguese Follow us: Loading News Headlines Vatican Americas Asia - Pacific US Europe Middle East - Africa Most Read Most Commented Archive Mandate Resources Abortion Advent Apologetics Benedict XVI Bible Cardinals Catechism Catholic Womanhood Church Fathers Life & Family Liturgical Calendar Liturgy Mary Politics Prayers Sacraments Sacred Arts Saints Virtue Tools Catholic Podcast RSS Feeds CNA TV CNA Audio Columns A Life Worth Living Answering the Tough Questions Bishops' Corner Book Reviews Both Oars In Catholic & Single Catholic Men Guest Columnist Harvesting the Fruit of Vatican II In Good Company Indispensable Economics Inside the Church during WWII Led Into the Truth Movie Reviews Preparing the way for the Roman Missal – 3rd Edition The New (& the Old) Evangelization The Spirit of the New Translation The Way of Beauty With Good Reason Your Moment in the Mass Documents Pope Benedict XVI Pope John Paul II Pope Paul VI Pope John XXIII Pope Pius XII Pope Pius XI Pope Pius X Pope Leo XIII Vatican II Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith Pontifical Council for the Family United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Cardinal James Francis Stafford Archbishop Charles J. Chaput Bishop Samuel J. Aquila Catholic Womanhood Home » News » US Archbishop Chaput sees US trending against religious liberty By Kevin J. Jones Archbishop Charles J. Chaput. "A Heart on Fire, Catholic Witness and the Next America." Philadelphia, Pa., Apr 17, 2012 / 04:07 am ( CNA ) .- In an exclusive interview on his new eBook “A Heart on Fire,” Archbishop Charles J. Chaput says the recent contraception mandate points to a “pattern” of attacks on religious liberty in the U.S. These attacks, he noted, are changing America into a country more hostile to religion in general and to Catholicism in particular. “Our national leadership over the past few years has been much colder toward America’s traditional understanding of religious freedom than any administration in recent memory,” the Archbishop of Philadelphia told CNA April 16.  While Americans presume that the Constitution guarantees their rights, he said, “in practice our rights survive or disappear based on how firmly we defend them.” “It’s not hard to imagine a time in this country when sexual and reproductive ‘rights’ will take precedence over rights of conscience and freedom of religious expression. It’s happening elsewhere. It can happen here. We have no magic immunity.” The archbishop’s eBook, released on March 27 through Doubleday, comes at a time of intense controversy over religious freedom in the U.S. The Department of Health and Human Services has mandated that almost all employers provide insurance coverage for sterilization and contraception, including an abortion-causing drug. The federal rule’s narrow religious exemption does not apply to many Catholic institutions like health care systems, colleges, and charitable agencies. Employers who do not comply will face heavy fines. While the Obama administration has proposed a compromise, Catholic leaders say it still requires them to cooperate in providing procedures and drugs whose use they consider to be sinful. For Archbishop Chaput, the debate is “not an isolated incident.” “It’s part of a pattern,” he said. The archbishop finished his eBook last November before the HHS mandate controversy arose, but in his view attacks on religious freedom are problems that have been “brewing in our country for years.” “Religion is under pressure in the public square because traditional religious faith, and the morality that flows from it, are obstacles to a very different and much more aggressively secular model of American life,” said the archbishop, who served on the U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom. The archbishop’s comments echo his eBook, which predicts that religious freedom will be “one of the key issues facing Christians in the coming decade” both globally and in the U.S. “Nothing guarantees that America’s experiment in religious freedom, as we traditionally know it, will survive here in the United States, let alone serve as a model for other countries in the future,” he warns. He writes that many American leaders no longer regard religious faith as a healthy force even though American institutions and American values grow out of “a predominantly religious view.” “The America emerging in the next several decades is likely to be much less friendly to Christian faith than anything in our country’s past. And that poses a challenge for all of us as Catholics.”   The archbishop’s eBook urges Catholics to witness to their faith in public life, which he describes as “an obligation of the Gospel.” This witness is “even more urgent as the mistakes and ambiguities of the past half-century of American Catholic experience come to harvest.” Archbishop Chaput.......