"Our society won't care about religious freedom if it doesn't care about God," he said.
Garvey counseled that in response efforts must be made to restore a proper appreciation for religion, in order to bring about a natural respect for religious freedom as well.
Archbishop Lori highlighted three steps that have been taken by the bishops to defend religious liberty in recent months.
He pointed to a March 14 statement from the conference's administrative committee, which was backed by the entire conference in a unanimous voice vote on June 13.
The statement, entitled "United for Religious Freedom," reflects "the unity of the bishops" in response to the contraception mandate, he said.
A later document from the bishops' Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, entitled "Our First, Most Cherished Liberty," discusses not only the mandate, but other threats from both ends of the political spectrum, as well as religious persecution abroad, the archbishop added.
He explained that this document "offers an overview" of the Church's teaching on religious freedom "in light of the American experience."
It also "affirms that it is not merely the right of Catholics that are at risk and warrant our concern, but of others as well," he said, emphasizing that "the right of religious freedom belongs to all."
In addition, Archbishop Lori said, the bishops have called for a "Fortnight for Freedom" to be held during the two-week period leading up to Independence Day. Catholics are encouraged to engage in activities aimed at prayer, education and advocacy of public officials during this time.
The fortnight includes national elements, he said, such as the nationwide ringing of church bells at specific times and Masses in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. However, most of the events will be held locally, at the diocesan level, and will invite the participation of the faithful.
The archbishop clarified that the fortnight is "not about parties, candidates or elections," as some have suggested, nor is "intended as an occasion for civil disobedience."
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Rather, the event is strictly about the issue of religious freedom, and this is reflected in the materials that the bishops are producing for it, he said.
Archbishop Lori encouraged his fellow bishops to prepare for "a difficult road ahead."
Defending religious freedom "won't be easy" and may require some suffering, he said.
But the trials should not lead to discouragement, he insisted, because equipped with truth and love of Christ, "we will not fail."