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Why Religious Liberty Matters

Sep 1, 2022

Why Religious Liberty Matters by Paul Krause at Crisis Magazine. All politics, and culture, is a contest of elites. The question is, which elite will dominate the halls of politics and culture? …. The preservation of religious liberty ensures that Christians, and all our various institutions—schools, media, hospitals, and charitable organizations—exist to counterbalance the failing and declining institutions of the entrenched liberal elite…. Anti-Christian liberals see the existence of Christian institutions as a threat to their diminishing hold on power…. Hence the drive to indoctrinate as many students as possible, as young as possible, in the anti-Christian worldview. Read To Avoid Today's Wokeness, Parents are Enrolling their Kids in Catholic School by Deirdre Reilly at Fox News. When asked why he felt that the Catholic school option was becoming more popular with families, [Fr. Jadyn Nelson, president of Bishop Ryan Catholic School] noted that values are key. "I think the biggest thing is that when people look at what they want for their children in terms of an educational environment, they think of providing such an environment that corresponds to their own values, and what they want to communicate to their kids in their home," he explained. He continued, "When we offer a faith-based education that also includes discipline and a strong moral foundation, they think of that as a great value." Read Connecticut Assistant Principal Admits to Discriminating Against Catholic, Conservative Applicants in Undercover Video by Caroline Downey at National Review. Jeremy Boland, Assistant Principal of Cos Cob Elementary School, a public school, told an undercover Project Veritas reporter that he oversees the hiring of faculty and rejects applicants who espouse conservative or Catholic beliefs… or sympathize with concerns about parental rights in education…. When asked what he does when he learns a candidate is Catholic, Boland replied, “You don’t hire them.”…. There is a conservative, 40-year-old, female teacher at Cos Cob who is “stuck in her ways,” Borland said. Because it’s difficult to terminate a tenured teacher, “I’ll never be able to fire her, and I’ll never be able to change her,” he said. “So, I make an impact with the next teacher I hire.” Read Sacred Music is ‘God’s Gift to Us’ by Paul Senz at Our Sunday Visitor. The mission of Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, is to educate “men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.” The primary faith instruction is in theology courses, of course, but “other disciplines provide the opportunity to discover truth in all its aspects,” said John F. Paul, professor of music and the department chair…. The foundation of Benedictine’s music department is the claim that Jesus Christ is the Logos and the origin of all truth and beauty, said Celeste Lirette, a senior double-majoring in theology and music. “Because we believe in the intelligibility of the universe, we are taught that music is intrinsically ordered and can reveal truth about God and his creation,” she said. Read Villanova Defends Using Preferred Pronouns, Saying It Affirms Catholic Teaching by Jeremiah Poff at Washington Examiner. The Catholic Villanova University is defending guidance it released this month that pushes faculty and staff to promote "gender inclusivity" and maintain a policy of preferred pronouns in the classroom…. Among the recommendations is for university faculty and staff to "normalize an inclusive approach to gender" by avoiding "gender binary language like 'ladies and gentlemen.' "It’s also helpful to model using people’s pronouns and to state your own pronouns when you introduce yourself, including in your syllabus and email signature," the guide continues. Read Fairfax Schools Orientation Instructs Students on Gender Identity 'Non-Disclosure' by Jeremiah Poff at Washington Examiner. Middle and high school students in Fairfax County Public Schools were subjected to an orientation presentation this year informing them that they had a "right" of "non-disclosure" for their gender identity…. "To see a school system in Fairfax County begin to brief teachers on how to cut parents out of these most critical decisions for their children is not only wrong, but it completely contravenes state law and, oh, by the way, federal law," Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R-VA) said. "There is clear law that says parents have a fundamental right to make the decisions with regard to their child’s upbringing, education, and care." The governor, who was elected last year on a platform that heavily emphasized parental rights, vowed to "bring the full authority of the governor's office to make sure parents are protected." Read ‘Gender Support’ Plans at School: Here’s What Catholic Parents Need to Know by Edie Heipel at Catholic News Agency. “[A] strong source of misinformation about the nature of the person and the meaning of the body is, regrettably, the public education system,” [Bishop Michael Burbidge of the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia] wrote. “Staff in many schools are required to affirm a child’s declared ‘gender identity’ and facilitate a child’s ‘transition,’ even in the absence of parental notice or permission.” Parents of public schoolchildren "must therefore discuss specific Catholic teaching on these issues with their children and be even more vigilant and vocal against this false and harmful ideology,” Burbidge said, adding that parents can find counsel and support in the Church and her sacraments. “In difficult circumstances, parents are often tempted to think—or are made to feel—that their Catholic faith is at odds with what is good for their child. In fact, authentic love for their children is always aligned with the truth,” he added. Read USDA Exempts Religious Schools from LGBT Rule Change Threatening Free Lunch Funds by Edie Heipel at Catholic News Agency. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has reversed a policy that would have required Catholic schools that participate in a federal free lunch program to comply with the Biden administration’s LGBTQ mandates. Nevertheless, some Catholic schools, such as those of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, are choosing to drop out of the program. Earlier this year the Biden administration re-interpreted Title IX's federal ban on sex discrimination to include “sexual orientation or gender identity.” Religious freedom and free speech advocates warn that the change could be used to enforce mandates on hiring, bathrooms, using preferred pronouns, and dress codes. Read School Choice Rising by Steven Malanga at City Journal. The last two school years may turn out to be the launching point of a transformational era in American education. School closures and other Covid-related measures, along with the outsize power that teachers’ unions wielded over classrooms, have drawn far more parents into the school- reform fold than ever before. No longer is public school choice an issue largely confined to poor parents in failing districts. More important, polls and interviews illustrate that many parents are upset enough to change how they vote in order to get reform. Read Throwback Thursday Cardinal Dolan Laments Attacks on Houses of Worship in Religious Freedom Day Message by Christine Rousselle for Catholic News Agency posted at Catholic World Report on January 15, 2022. “For nearly two years, the U.S. bishops have noticed a disturbing trend of Catholic churches being vandalized and statues being smashed,” said [Cardinal Timothy] Dolan in a statement released Jan. 14 by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Dolan is the chairman of the USCCB’s religious liberty committee…. “An attack on a house of worship is certainly an assault on the particular community that gathers there. It is also an attack on the founding principle of America as a place where all people can practice their faith freely,” said Dolan. “And it is an attack on the human spirit, which yearns to know the truth about God and how to act in light of the truth.” Dolan praised the “great tradition of religious freedom” in the United States, which has “allowed beauty to flourish,” for the benefit of all…. “In the midst of a popular culture that too often caters to our basest appetites, sacred art and architecture calls all of us to think about ultimate things.” Read

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