Jun 27, 2016
Catholic dioceses across the United States have begun their yearly "Fortnight for Freedom" event. Through special masses, ads, and rallies the Council of Bishops seeks to turn the attention of 69 million American Catholics to the steady fraying of religious liberty in our country.
To do this they've highlighted the stories of Christians who've resisted the power of the state and stuck fast to their beliefs, even to the point of death. From as far back in history as John the Baptist, to the last century's Edith Stein, to the Copts beheaded last year by ISIS on the beach in Libya, the men and women, "Witnesses to Freedom," extolled by the Bishops' campaign are paragons of courage in the face of oppression.
Is it a stretch to ask modern American Catholics to see themselves as budding "martyrs" facing a tyrannical State? It may be that this point of view is starting to resonate.
The rapid cultural shift we've experienced on social and sexual mores has long left the traditionally religious feeling marginalized. Being pro-life can get one branded as anti-woman, even if one is a woman. Parents teaching their children Christian concepts of marriage, gender, and sexual morality today can fully expect their teachings to be portrayed as bigoted and ignorant in the media, public schools, and universities. For the religious, the workplace can feel more and more like an intolerant "politically correct" minefield where any misstep can mean disaster. Even powerful CEO's and important public figures are not exempt.