The Common Good

“Like those who have gone before us in the faith, Christians today are called to proclaim the Gospel of costly grace, to protect the intrinsic dignity of the human person and to stand for the common good.”

-The Manhattan Declaration

If you’re not familiar with it, the Manhattan Declaration is an ecumenical declaration in defense of life, marriage, and religious liberty. It was openly released on November 20, 2009. Among its signers are Dr. Peter Kreeft, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop Chaput, Chuck Colson, and numerous other religious leaders from many denomination-Orthodox, Catholic, Baptist, Evangelical etc.

I’m bringing this up today because our constitutional rights to religious liberty are being challenged. Regardless of how you feel about contraception or abortion, the Constitution promises every American freedom of religion.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

This right is being challenged. Our Founding Fathers may not have been Christians, but they believed that every American has the right to follow their own religious beliefs. They promised us the rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” They promised us freedom of religion.

And this is being challenged.

So why am I blogging about this? Right now, in my hometown of Ann Arbor, there is a rally going on in front of the federal building. There is another rally going on in front of the McNamara Federal Building in Detroit. And there are rallies in 118 other cities across the nation today. Each one is being held at noon.

The purpose of these rallies is to protect religious liberty. Christians (and in some cases our Jewish brothers and even people without religious affiliation) are gathering to pray for our nation and to remind our nation’s leaders that we have a right to religious liberty. We have a right to protect our consciences. It is a God-given right. And we must fight for it.

I realize that is controversial. I realize that people disagree with the Catholic Church’s teaching on contraception and abortion.

I am not asking people to change their minds. I am not asking people to convert to Catholicism.

I’m asking them to recognize our constitutional right to religious freedom. We have a right to protect our consciences.

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