Debate on Religious Liberty

Dear Parishioners, The current debate on religious liberty centers on the question of whether or not religious principles have a role in the marketplace. Those who question the role of religious principles in public life are guided by people of faith who have made it clear by their words and actions, that their personal beliefs do not influence their every day life.

Our Catholic politicians, for example, have with impunity, gone out of their way to assure their constituents, that their Catholic faith will not enter into their political offices.

This misguided understanding of the separation of church and state has been a cause of confusion and scandal for many people. Such confusion has set the stage for those who want to remove all faith from the public arena.

The fact remains, that moral principles cannot exist apart from religious principles. Freedom of religion does not mean freedom from religion, but free to be religious.

There are those who say that God and religion pose a threat to freedom and peace. They believe that we would all be better off without the shackles of religious principles. These people need to learn from history. Whenever God and religion are removed from society, and the rights of the human person become secondary to the tyranny of men, then people suffer and die. We have only to remember the millions of people who died under Nazism, Fascism, and Godless Atheistic Communism, as well as those who are being tortured and killed today in many parts of the world because of their religious beliefs.

The increasing silence on the part of the American Government, in the face of religious persecution throughout the world, serves to remind us of our need to speak out with clarity and conviction in the face of this threat to free speech, and the free exercise of religion.

Religious freedom and free speech must not be taken for granted. Now is the time to pray and speak out in defense of those who have no voice. We must remind our leaders, that the role of good government is for the protection of human life, and not its destruction. If we fail to bring our faith into the marketplace, we will experience the terrible consequences of the tyranny that comes when God and religion are removed from everyday life.

May God bless our efforts on behalf of all people of faith.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Rev. Roger C. Gagné