Group releases suggestions for Fortnight for Freedom activities

Washington D.C., Jun 20, 2012 / 03:18 pm (CNA).- The Catholic Association has released a 14-point “action plan” for those who want to participate in the “Fortnight for Freedom” religious liberty advocacy event from June 21-July 4.

“It is so critical that Catholics stand together in defense of religious freedom and to preserve Catholic and other religious institutions’ and employers’ rights and ability to serve the common good,” association senior policy advisor Maureen Ferguson said June 19.

She said the mandate forces faith-based entities to comply with a rule that “so deeply violates our faith and conscience” or pay “crippling” fines.

Ashley McGuire, a senior fellow with The Catholic Association, said the activities are non-partisan.

“This is not a Democrat or Republican issue, this is a freedom and First Amendment issue,” she said.

A Department of Health and Human Services mandate requires employers, including many Catholic institutions, to provide employees with no co-pay insurance coverage for sterilization and contraception. The mandate’s narrow religious exemption has drawn fire from Catholics and others who say providing the coverage violates their religious and moral beliefs.

Catholic and faith leaders others say a purported compromise from the Obama administration does not adequately address their concerns.

Many Catholic dioceses are organizing “Fortnight for Freedom” events to rally support for religious liberty.

The Catholic Association, a new group which says it aims to be “a faithful Catholic voice in the public square,” has also published its own suggestions.

They are urging concerned citizens to call members of Congress to ask him or her to support religious freedom efforts and to oppose the HHS mandate.

“Tell the staff person you speak with that you would like a response from your representative and make sure they take down your address,” the association suggests.

The association also echoed the Catholic bishops’ call for prayer and fasting.

It said Catholics should pray the Fortnight for Freedom’s “Prayer for Religious Liberty” or say a decade of the Rosary for religious freedom.

The Catholic Association noted that institutions that violate the mandate as currently written face a fine of $100 per employee per day, which it described as a “fine on faith.”

The group suggested that Catholics respond by donating $14 to their favorite Catholic institution.

Churches will ring their bells in a coordinated act at 12 p.m. Eastern time July 4. The Catholic Association said that Catholics and others should send out a Facebook post or a tweet with the phrase “I Stand for Religious Freedom” at the same time.

Participants can share with others the U.S. bishops’ document “Our First, Most Cherished Liberty.” They can also sign petitions like the Beckett Fund’s “I Still Believe” petition, the “Women Speak for Themselves” petition and the “Conscience Clause” petition.

The association also suggests participants invite14 friends to see the movie “For Greater Glory.”

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