.- Members from the group Catholic Advocate are launching a nationwide campaign inviting people from every faith to mobilize for the protection of religious liberty in the U.S.
âNo other president in American history has so blatantly chipped away at our religious liberties,â group vice president Matt Smith said in an Oct. 27 statement.
Smith cited the current administration's refusal to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act, allowing taxpayer dollars to go towards abortion providing organizations like Planned Parenthood, and lifting the ban on embryonic stem cell research as among several examples.
He also pointed to the governments decision to strip âconscience protections for health care workers, and refusing to meet with or respond to our Catholic Bishopsâ concerns.â
âThis isn't just a Catholic issue,â Smith added, âit's a religious liberty issue that affects all Americans of faith.â
The campaign includes a web video titled âCommon Groundâ and a petition calling on President Obama to enact the promises he made during a commencement address at the University of Notre Dame in 2009.
âIn this televised address, he spoke of the importance of cooperation and seeking the common good on decisive issues like abortion, saying: âWhen we open our hearts and our minds to those who may not think like we do or believe what we doâthat's when we discover at least the possibility of common ground,'â Catholic Advocate president Deal Hudson said, recalling the president's speech.
âBut without action, words are just words.â
The campaign comes as several U.S. bishops have recently issued strong words on the topic, including the bishop conference's top advocate for religious liberty, who recently urged Congress to protect the right to religious freedom in America.
âReligious liberty is not merely one right among others, but enjoys a certain primacy,â Bishop William E. Lori of Bridgeport, Conn., said in his Oct. 26 testimony before the House Judiciary Committeeâs Subcommittee on the Constitution.
âNot coincidentally, religious liberty is first on the list in the Bill of Rights, the charter of our Nationâs most cherished and fundamental freedoms,â he said.
Bishop Lori was named as the first chairman of the bishopsâ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty on Sept. 29, 2011.
The new committee was announced by bishops' conference president Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York last month, who said the group was born out of the bishops unanimous concern over the recent attacks on religious freedom.