Sunday, April 22, 2012

Archbishop Chaput sees US trending against religious liberty - New eBook

Archbishop Chaput sees US trending against religious liberty
By Kevin J. Jones

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.

Article found at Sub Tuum Praesidium (Under Thy Protection).

This is an ebook only for 99 cents. You can get it at here.

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