Why Religious Freedom Is Important | Catholic National Register

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New Registry podcast focuses on pressing education issues

It is becoming increasingly clear that we are faced with an overwhelming cultural force that is pulling our society away from its moral and religious roots.

Last summer my organization, Project Conscience, partnered with the Registry to produce the Religious freedom issues Podcast. The pilot series looked at the challenges we face as faithful Americans. We took a look at what the Catholic Church has to say about the importance of religious freedom in society. We discussed legal protections for people of faith in America, some recent victories for religious freedom in our courts, and clashes between government and religious freedom that have yet to be resolved. And we talked about our country’s duty to advance religious freedom around the world. Our message was clear: religious freedom will only survive if we know how to defend it.

As we entered the fall, it became alarming that religious freedom in the United States is under sustained attack in the very places that should be defending it – primarily our schools and universities. To make matters worse, some school officials and government officials do not think about keeping parents in the dark about what their children are going through in school. And, surprisingly, some of these institutions are Catholic. As a mother of 10 children, I navigate these waters myself. The situation is very destabilizing.

To help educate you – parents, grandparents, teachers, school administrators, clergy and religious – about the relationship between religious freedom and education, we are producing another Religious freedom issues podcast series. This time we will focus on religious freedom and education.

My co-host of this series is one of the most distinguished journalists in this field – Joan Frawley Desmond, editor of the Register. Together, we tracked down courageous parents who affirmed themselves as the first educators of their children; we have also identified some of the latest maneuvers by die-hard progressives and deaf politicians.

This Religious freedom issues The series will again feature lively discussions with some of the brightest minds in Catholic academia and political analysis. Our guests explain, in a fresh and authoritative way, why religious freedom has never been so important and how crucial it is now that our Catholic schools, colleges and universities are genuinely Catholic.

Powerful Mary Rice Hasson, head of the Catholic Women’s Forum at the Washington Center for Ethics and Public Policy, shares her take on the viciousness of gender ideology in schools. Hasson testified earlier this year before the Senate Judiciary Committee against the misnamed equality law. As a mother of seven grown children, Hasson has seen the winds change in our schools. That’s why she co-wrote, with her sister, Theresa Farnan, a book called Get out now: why you should get your child out of public school before it’s too late, describing the morally, intellectually and politically toxic environment that we find in many of our schools.

Hasson is not the only one sounding the alarm bells. Denise Donohue, vice president of educational resources at the Cardinal Newman Society, explains the dangers encountered when critical race theory is incorporated into school curricula and culture. Among other things, Donohue points out that the theology of the body of Saint John Paul II is a much more appropriate resource to help young people understand and reject the sin of racism.

These two lay Catholic women agree with Bishop José Gomez, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, that Catholics should be wary of pseudo-religions, dogmatically opposed to Catholic beliefs, which currently present themselves as new “ideologies” and “- justice movements.

The problem is more acute in universities. We will hear from two of the brightest stars in the firmament of Catholic higher education: Dominican Father Dominic Legge and Professor Joseph Capizzi. Father Legge, director of the Thomist Institute, contributes to strengthening the intellectual training of students and teachers in more than 50 colleges and universities by promoting Catholic truth in our contemporary world. Capizzi, meanwhile, is director of the Institute for Human Ecology (IHE), a vibrant research institute based at the Catholic University of America. Drawing inspiration from the Catholic intellectual tradition, Capizzi, his team and IHE academics improve scientific understanding of the economic, cultural and social conditions vital for human development.

What about the education of young learners? Well, we are chatting with Notre Dame Law Professor Nicole Garnett about recent developments at the Supreme Court that promise to remove barriers to school choice for parents and put Catholic and other religious schools on a footing. equality with public schools run by the government. We also met Mike Ortner, father of six and founder with his wife, Liz, of the Ortner Family Foundation. Mike launched the Catholic School Playbook, documenting what successful Catholic schools are doing differently to cultivate strong communities of students, families and educators.

It is difficult to overestimate the importance of the pioneering work accomplished by these faithful Catholics. Attacks on religious freedom in America increasingly target the rights of parents as primary educators – and the Church’s ability to teach the truth about the human person and the good order of society. The wickedness directed at us is frightening.

This new series of Religious freedom issues will help you better understand the challenges we face, inspire you to defend religious freedom in education, and to strengthen the light of the gospel in your own homes and communities.

Andrea Picciotti-Bayer, Director of the Conscience Project, is a Legal Analyst for EWTN News and co-host of the Register podcast Religious freedom issues. Listen online here.


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