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Yet the violence against Christians is not just physical, it is also political, ideological and cultural. This form of religious persecution is equally damaging, yet more hidden. It does not destroy physically but spiritually; it demolishes the teaching of Jesus and His Church and, hence, the foundations of faith by leading souls astray. By this violence, political leaders, lobby groups and mass media seek to neutralize and depersonalize the conscience of Christians so as to dissolve them in a fluid society without religion and without God. This is the will of the Evil One: to close Heaven … out of envy. –Robert Cardinal Sarah

 

Hearing Cardinal Sarah speak at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast recently was truly a blessing. He has the rare gift of being strong and gentle at the same time. He speaks the truth boldly and with such love. When you get down to it, to speak the truth is to speak out of love. The Cardinal encouraged, supported, and motivated all those attending and watching the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast.

His words encouraged me to continue speaking up for religious liberty not just because of my rights but also because of love for my neighbors. It is our responsibility to advocate for a just society and a society that allows our brothers and sisters to live their faith freely in accordance with their conscience.

As Cardinal Sarah said, the violence against Christians takes many forms aside from the physical. Religious persecution, he warns us, seeks to “neutralize and depersonalize the conscience of Christians” to ultimately rid society of religion. This is not a far-away or theoretical threat. This is happening right now in America. There are many attacks on our freedom to follow our consciences formed in our Christian faith.  Most of us have heard of the challenges about contraception undergone by Christians such as the family that runs Hobby Lobby and the Little Sisters of the poor. But perhaps fewer have heard about the persecution of health care providers who choose not to participate in abortion.  Consider the case of Cathy DeCarlo, a nurse in New York who was threatened with the loss of her job and her license if she did not participate in the destruction of a five-month-old unborn child in abortion. She had no legal recourse against her employer’s coercion.  Currently the Catholic Bishops are urging us to advocate for the Conscience Protection Act of 2016. It is designed to protect the conscience rights of health care providers that are being threatened.  Watch Cathy’s story in her own words here. Real people are facing real persecution in our country. We must raise our voices and stand for religious liberty.

How can you do that? Send a message by email or twitter to Congress by clicking here. You can also meet with your leaders or their staff members at their local district offices, or make a phone call. You can make a difference and when we all raise our voices together we will be heard!

I leave you with the encouraging, supporting, and motivating words that Cardinal Sarah spoke to us.

“Today the Church must fight against prevailing trends, with courage and hope, and not be afraid to raise her voice to denounce the hypocrites, the manipulators, and the false prophets. For two thousand years, the Church has faced many contrary winds but at the end of the most difficult journey, the victory was always won.”

Together we will be heard!