Free to Believe

Pope Francis last week said, “The persecution of Christians today is even greater than in the first centuries of the church, and there are more Christian martyrs today than in that era.”

The pope was speaking about the worldwide persecution of Christians. The Christian community in the Mideast is bordering on becoming extinct. Civil strife in Africa centers around religious beliefs with radical Islamists threatening to impose Sharia law on whole nations.

In the U.S., the persecution is more subtle but at the same time very real. Catholics and other Christians, who believe in the sanctity of life and refuse to contribute to legalized killing that is abortion, are being forced to finance such madness through the Affordable Health Care Law, a misnomer if there ever was one.

Catholic institutions are in danger of going out of business because they will not pay for health plans that cover abortion, yet they strive to serve the poor and disadvantaged.

Real religious liberty includes the freedom to live according to the values taught by one’s faith, Pope Francis reminded us this past week.

Religious freedom is not just about devotions and practises, the pope said, but “it is the freedom to live – both privately and publicly – according to the ethical principles that are a consequence of the truth found.”

The Holy Father recognizes the fact that ensuring people’s right to live their religious values is increasingly difficult in the modern world “where weak thinking – this is a sickness – lowers the level of ethics in general and, in the name of a false understanding of tolerance, ends up persecuting those who defend the truth about the human person and its ethical consequences.”

As we observe the Fortnight of Freedom to raise our consciences about the threats to religious liberty, we should be mindful to participate in the political process and to support candidates who protect our God-given rights to live as free human beings.

America was built upon the freedom of people to believe and to seek the truth according to the principles of right and wrong.

No government can take away those rights. We need to recognize what is happening in America, and we must influence the debate in the public arena so that truth and justice will prevail.

The Wrong Prescription

The gap between the Church and the State continues to grow. Witness the fact that while states push to legalize the use of marijuana and other so-called recreational drugs, Pope Francis has urged us to say “no” to drugs.
Too many young people around the world never get a job offer but frequently get offered drugs, explained the pope.
More and more, those kids’ lives are heading for destruction because of the use of drugs, with marijuana and alcohol serving as the key gateway substances.
“Let me state this is in the clearest terms possible: The problem of drug use is not solved with drugs,” the Holy Father explained. “Drug addiction is an evil, and with evil there can be no yielding or compromise.”
Allowing addicts to use narcotics or offering them “substitute drugs,” he said, is not a treatment, “but rather a veiled means of surrendering to the phenomenon.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s support for the use of medical marijuana is just one more slip on the slide to public tolerance of more destructive behavior. 
We’re sorry to see that many of the saner voices of state government went along with the governor on this proposal. Has public pressure become so powerful that even the more rational among us have begun to cave in?
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