Even in the face of much criticism, scrutiny, and out-right destruction among the left-leaning individuals in this country, the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, announced yesterday, January 16, to be Religious Freedom Day. Click on the link to read the statement from the White House.
Although his predecessor (as well as his predecessors) also declared each January 16 Religious Freedom Day, it’s this writer’s personal opinion that this year and the years to follow will have more impact for those actually facing religious persecution in this country. For eight years, we had been subjected to an individual that didn’t care about religion or the religious beliefs of any of his citizens. It was lip service at best. Today, I feel confident that our religious freedoms will be upheld with our current President, his Administration, and that the Courts will rule with the laws already on the books in mind.
As a Catholic, a writer and a parish evangelist, I hold religious freedom fundamental to our very existence. If you include this article, I have written on religious freedom 12 different times on here. I see it as important to not only US citizens, but all people who desire to openly express their religious beliefs and faith.
If you aren’t aware of it, religious freedom is one of the major themes of the Second Vatican Council that was held from 1962-1965. Read the document, Dignitatis Humanae. So many of the Bishops in Europe, most notably, the future Pope, John Paul II, then Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, were forced into how the government wanted him and rest of Poland, matter of fact the entire Iron Curtain, to profess their Catholic (and other Christians) faith.
This is also why so much of John Paul II’s writing’s during his papacy focused on the dignity of the human person. He saw first-hand how the human spirit was destroyed when religious freedom was not permitted to be expressed freely and openly. It seems that Pope John Paul II could see the writing on the wall here in the USA, when on October 8, 1995, he said the following in Baltimore, Maryland –
“The challenge facing you, dear friends, is to increase people’s awareness of the importance for society of religious freedom; to defend that freedom against those who would take religion out of the public domain and establish secularism in America’s official faith. And it is vitally necessary, for the very survival of the American experience, to transmit to the next generation the precious legacy of religious freedom and the convictions which sustain it.”
What does the Catholic Church profess regarding religious freedom? Well, if you have the time, read the aforementioned Vatican II document. It’s a good read. If you don’t time for that, I would suggest reading what the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches on religious freedom. You can find those teachings in paragraphs 2106-2109. I would also suggest checking out Tim Staples’ article on Religious Liberty on the Catholic Answers webpage.
Of course, I can’t end an article like this one without asking you all to pray for our country, or for the country you live in currently, pray for religious freedoms, and pray for those who oppose religious freedom or those who see it as a form of intolerance. Pray for the conversion of all people who are not open to Jesus Christ. Yes, I know it be difficult to pray for people like this, but it needs to be done. Trust me, I remind myself of this every day.