Poor Mr. President—There’s Just Too. Much. News.

Well, I’ll bet Mr. Obama is sputtering into his beer.  Just as it seemed things were getting kinda quiet on the religious liberty front, along come the Catholics to stir the pot. 

By now, you’ve heard the news:  Forty-three Catholic dioceses and organizations filed suit today, asserting that the HHS Mandate is unconstitutional.  Dioceses including Washington, New York; the Michigan Catholic Conference (representing all the dioceses in the state).  Universities including The Catholic University of America and—yes!!—Notre Dame.  High schools, health care consortiums, publishers, social service agencies. 

Hear this, Mr. President: 

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

Hear this, America:

This is not about contraception.  This is about our fundamental First Amendment rights, and whether we can permit our public officials—any public officials—to take away those rights. 

Our Sunday Visitor, in its statement on the lawsuit, explained the issue for those in the mainstream media who may have missed the point the first time around:

We know that many Americans — and even many Catholics — are confused about this debate. Politicians and elements of the news media have sought to make it a war against women or contraception, and they have portrayed the Church as seeking to impose its values on others or as being covertly political.

We also acknowledge that many Catholics do not understand the reasons for the Church’s moral opposition to contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs. This lack of understanding points to a significant catechetical need that the Church should address internally.

We reiterate, however, that this is not about the legality of such practices in society, nor is it about how many Catholics understand the Church’s position. It is about the Church’s right to practice what it preaches. 

Mr. Obama may have hoped, before today, that we were losing our sense of urgency—that the June 8 protest rallies organized around the country would not attract the numbers that we’d seen on March 23.  But no, Mr. Obama, it didn’t turn out that way:  Led by our bishops, Catholics have drawn together as never before in this country, in solidarity against your repressive policies.

Today, May 21, we celebrate the feast days of St. Cristobal Magallanes Jara and the 25 Mexican martyrs who died during the Mexican Cristero War, and who were canonized by Pope John Paul II on May 21, 2000.

In just a few weeks, on June 1, the movie For Greater Glory will be released in theatres across America. This deeply moving account of the Cristeros’ fight for freedom of religion in Mexico in the 1920s is very much a story for our own times. 

Archbishop José M. Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles, has said,

It is my earnest hope that people of faith throughout our country will rally behind For Greater Glory, and in doing so, will highlight the importance of religious freedom in our society.

Mark your calendars:

June 1 – Support For Greater Glory by attending a showing on opening weekend.

June 8 – Stand up for religious freedom by attending a rally against the HHS Mandate in your area.  (Find a rally in your area by clicking here.)

This post is part of Patheos Movie Club for “For Greater Glory,” a sponsored conversation in partnership with Grace Hill Media.