Religious leaders join together in support of marriage, religious liberty

News release from USCCB

WASHINGTON — Leaders of some of the largest religious communities in the United States have joined together in an open letter to all Americans to voice their shared concern for marriage and religious freedom.

The letter, titled “Marriage and Religious Freedom: Fundamental Goods That Stand or Fall Together,” was released January 12. Signatories include leaders from Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Evangelical, Jewish, Lutheran, Mormon, and Pentecostal communities in the United States. 

Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, was one of the four signing Catholic bishops.

“Marriage and religious liberty are at a crisis point in the United States,” he said. “This letter is a sign of hope. Not only are tens of millions of believing citizens represented in the letter’s signatories, but the letter itself testifies to the growing and shared awareness of just how important marriage and religious freedom are to the well being of our country. The letter makes a compelling argument that needs to be heard by all of us, especially those in positions of authority: anyone truly concerned with religious freedom must also be a defender of marriage’s perennial definition.”

In the letter, the leaders counter a common claim that the principal threat to religious freedom is the possibility of ministers being forced to officiate same-sex “weddings.”

The leaders wrote: “We believe the most urgent peril is this: forcing or pressuring both individuals and religious organizations — throughout their operations, well beyond religious ceremonies — to treat same-sex sexual conduct as the moral equivalent of marital sexual conduct. There is no doubt that the many people and groups whose moral and religious convictions forbid same-sex sexual conduct will resist the compulsion of the law, and church-state conflicts will result.”

They added that “these conflicts bear serious consequences.”

“They will arise in a broad range of legal contexts, because altering the civil definition of ‘marriage’ does not change one law, but hundreds, even thousands, at once,” they said. “By a single stroke, every law where rights depend on marital status — such as employment discrimination, employment benefits, adoption, education, healthcare, elder care, housing, property, and taxation — will change so that same-sex sexual relationships must be treated as if they were marriage. That requirement, in turn, will apply to religious people and groups in the ordinary course of their many private or public occupations and ministries — including running schools, hospitals, nursing homes and other housing facilities, providing adoption and counseling services, and many others.”

The leaders warned that redefining marriage has consequences for the religious freedom of all Americans and urged civic leaders to defend marriage so as also to defend religious liberty.

“We especially urge those entrusted with the public good to support laws that uphold the time-honored definition of marriage, and so avoid threatening the religious freedom of countless institutions and citizens in this country,” the religious leaders said. “Marriage and religious freedom are both deeply woven into the fabric of this nation.”

The release of the letter came days before the presidential proclamation for Religious Freedom Day (January 16) and a few weeks before World Marriage Day (February 12) and National Marriage Week USA (February 7-14). The letter follows a letter of shared commitment released December 6, 2010.

To read the full letter, Click Here.



Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 7:57 AM By Patrick
It was not mentioned that Mrs. Clinton and the State Department are pushing gay marriage worldwide through the State Department, probably unknown to the average citizen of the US.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 7:59 AM By Lupe
I wish all these religious leaders would come together to denounce abortion and work towards its eradication. They won’t because it isn’t politically correct. What a shame. How many more millions and millions of slaughtered babies will there be in this country?

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 8:02 AM By Lupe
By the way, this marriage battle was lost years ago when the Church decided to treat homosexuality with “compassion” and “understanding”, instead of calling it what it is: An abomination before God!

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 11:35 AM By Larry
No, Lupe–the “marriage battle” was lost even longer ago than that–when bishops chose not to vigorously defend “Humanae Vitae” in not only the pulpit but the public sector as well. When marriage in the public mind became detached from procreation, it was only a matter of time before the sex of the partners would become officially irrelevant.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 1:47 PM By keithp
Ugh…. On this site I see the following dynamic. It’s so depressingly predictable… First, we hear, “Why aren’t the bishops and Church leaderships defending (insert Church Canon Law, Teaching, Doctrine, Discipline HERE)” Then, when they do defend and rally the Faithful, we see the second part…. Oh, it’s TOO TOO late!!! Woe. Remember this? Rejoicing in Hope, Patient in tribulation, Persevering in prayer – Romans12:12.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 5:27 PM By Lupe
Larry (11:35 am), of course you are right. The Bishops lost the battle by failing to defend “Humanae Vitae”.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 6:15 PM By MIKE
keithp – it is never too late to make corrections as long as we are breathing. Sometimes timing can be much better. All Bishops must uphold the teachings of the Church in entirety as stated in the “Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition”, and they all must adhere to Canon Law. And we as laity are also bound to adhere to these same teachings. I don’t know why all Bishops do not promote the reading of the CCC in the literate USA – this would put many disagreements due to ignorance to bed.

Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2012 6:36 AM By JLS
The role of a bishop is to preach and teach the Gospel and to disciple the nations, ie the politicians, the governments. This is called the Great Commission. If a bishop has trouble with the Catechism, then perhaps he should be replaced by someone who is actually faithful.

Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2012 7:09 AM By Sandra
Take note of “Yahoo” and other search engine main pages recently. Lot’s of retoric on how “normal” and “good” same-sex parenting is for children. The opposition is rallying and are on the offense. We must get the “stats” out on the damage and utter nonsense that sam sex parenting helps children!

Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2012 7:15 AM By Sandra
Divorce bolsters the same sex platform. Catholics must understand that the Sacrament of Matrimony is FOREVER. We must educate our children that marriage is a complete giving of oneself to another. It is a VOCATION. It’s not about “taking” its about giving. Total self-donation does not include contraception. Until this is fully understood–divorce, damaged children and the peril of civilization is at hand.

Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2012 7:44 AM By Larry
“I don’t know why all Bishops do not promote the reading of the CCC in the literate USA – this would put many disagreements due to ignorance to bed.” Because, Mike, it would resolve some of those “disagreements due to ignorance” in ways that many bishops would prefer they not be resolved–so that those bishops could no longer continue to co-mingle their own personal opinions with Church teaching.

Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2012 9:59 AM By keithp
Mike- Thanks for the response. My earlier comment was a bit snarky. My intent was to caution those who are skeptical or disappointed in the Bishops to not allow this to turn in to lukewarmess and then despair.

Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2012 6:12 PM By JLS
keithp, many are in despair. Wake them up with the Gospel. Forget your own definition of patience, because with God a day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day. Ususally what I find with people claiming patience as a defense is anxiety over loss of comfort. So, maybe a good practice to defeat despair is fasting, and I mean real fasting, and not the symbolic so called fasts during Lent. Try rice and beans with your beer every day for a month. What I did once was water only until I finished reading the Bible. You’d be amazed at how fast a starving person can read.

Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2012 9:30 PM By k
I’m in despair or at least discouragement. Gay marriage, divorce, cohabitation, sex seen as an amoral behavior, contraception, pedophilia, nudity. I just was on a website where a young person had seen a picture of a young woman who was topless with a black bar across her eyes and they asked “Why did they censor her eyes and not her nipples?” And the Vatican wants Catholics on the Internet!

Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012 6:19 AM By Dottie
k, you are on the internet each time you post. – Were you not aware of this? St. Paul saw much immorality in his day and still got out the Word of the Lord, having many converts.

Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012 6:49 AM By BETH
I have to agree with Larry, that many Bishops do not promote the studing of the CCC so they can do their own thing rather than that of the Magisterium. In fact they suppress the CCC, as evidenced by the USCCB web site – where it no longer has an easy, visible, prominate link on their home page. (The web site has been under construction for over 6 months so there are no ligitimate excuses.) So let all of us promote the CCC in spite of them.

Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012 6:49 AM By JLS
k, Jesus tells us that it is not what goes into a man that defiles him but what comes out. Yes, you have to protect children and the immature in faith from temptation abundant and rife on the internet. Do you really think you can do that by loading various and sundry porn filters on your kids’ computers? Their laptops? Their handheld computers … ipods or whatever they’re called? Don’t kid yourself; the kids will skirt around the filters, and they will find ways to bring it up and share it around. Where does that leave you, in despair? Why? We pick up our Crosses and carry them in the footsteps of Jesus; when you come across despair, then don’t leave it nipping at your heels but add it to your Cross and carry it also. St Christopher carried the entire weight of the world on his shoulders, so you ought to be able to carry a tiny Cross on yours.

Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012 7:06 AM By OSCAR
CCC – ” 888 Bishops, with priests as co-workers, have as their FIRST TASK to preach the Gospel of God to all men, in keeping with the Lord’s command. They are heralds of faith, who draw new disciples to Christ; they are authentic teachers of the apostolic faith endowed with the authority of Christ.” Does this fit the description of your Diocese Bishop or his Diocese Priests? When was the last time you heard of: Heaven, Hell, eternity, temporal punishment, sacrilege, scandal, need for the Sacrament of Confession, divorce from a valid marriage with re-marriage, pornography, homosexual acts, voting for pro-abortion politiicans, living together without marriage, indulgences to remit temporal punishment, etc., from the pulpit of your Parish? How well would you rank your Diocese Bishop on a scale of 1 to 5 (with five being the best) on doing his FIRST TASK of teaching according to the Gospel and apostolic faith? (Unless you have a 5, no names please.)

Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012 4:55 PM By Abeca Christian
BETH yes sounds right, I wonder if they encourage bible reading as well?? Awe yes through Holy Mass but how often do Catholics read their Bibles with the CCC? I wonder what the survey people have to say about that? Since they have nothing better to do, they may follow up on that research and report the numbers on it but lets not forget that many a times they forget to ask us.

Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012 7:09 PM By JLS
I got to push the CCC2ndEd today to some Catholic teenagers who wanted to know why I was not willing to become a free mason.

Posted Thursday, January 19, 2012 7:07 PM By k
Dottie, yes, but it reminds me of Acts 17:32. JLS, I am not talking about protecting people from indecency. I am talking about how standards of indecency have changed. I think that exposure to the internet contributes to a sense of moral relativity and the idea that whatever one believes is fine as long as you don’t force it on other people. I think there are Catholics like those who post here who will maintain their beliefs and stand up for them. There are others who will be tempted to easier ways of faith.

Posted Thursday, January 19, 2012 8:49 PM By k
OSCAR, bishop 3. In the last year from the pulpit (not the bishop): Heaven, eternity, temporal punishment, need for the Sacrament of Confession were mentioned but except for Confession they are treated lightly. Capital punishment-check. Love, check. Sermons are usually about how God wants us to take Him more seriously. Whatever the Gospel is, it is interpreted strictly and that we will get in trouble for not doing it and not to make excuses.

Posted Thursday, January 19, 2012 9:37 PM By JLS
k, without true faith, all these other things you describe run the course through humanity. To attribute the internet as the cause of relativism is akin to claiming algore invented the internet.

Posted Thursday, January 19, 2012 9:39 PM By JLS
k, “whatever the Gospel is, it is interpreted strictly”: What do you mean here?

Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 6:18 AM By JLS
Are there any bishops today who have earned more than a 3 on that scale, OSCAR? I’d give Bl JPII a 5 because of his teaching on personhood. But at the moment I am not aware of any teaching by any current bishop which cannot be found in a book written long ago. What it looks like to me is that the “handing on of the faith” part of the teaching function of bishops at best is a kind of allowing of the faith to some extent to be handed on. St Paul demonstrates what happens when the whole faith is handed on … this result is anything but evident today … more like a very very watery soup, or bread filled with a lot more air than it could be.

Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 9:36 AM By MIKE
k – you are describing ‘relativism’ – that conceptions of truth and moral values are not absolute but are relative to the persons or groups holding them. So bascially it means there is no right and no wrong, and the decision is up to each individual. Relativism and secularism are rampant. Reading the Bible and the CCC 2nd Ed not only keeps us educated so we can know the truth, but are great reminders and references. “….the Catechism has raised throughout the world, even among non-Christians, and confirms its purpose of being presented as a full, complete exposition of Catholic doctrine, enabling everyone to know what the Church professes, celebrates, lives, and prays in her daily life.” – Pope John Paul II (pg xiv)

Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 11:42 AM By k
JLS, I am not saying the internet is the cause of relativism, it is a communications media. What I am saying is-whatever you believe, you will find support for. Just search around til you find it. If you find someone who disagrees with you-just click it off. However, you also find new ideas that can make you think and may influence you into thinking that the Church’s positions are archaic. Young people’s education has taught them to respect all viewpoints. I agree with MIKE that the antidote is Bible reading and CCC reading because then instead of listening to man, you are listening to God.

Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 11:52 AM By k
What I meant be interpreted strictly is there is not any of the redaction analysis or other interpretations of the Scripture, which is a good thing. An example of our sermons would be when the Gospel has Jesus tells the disciples of John who ask him where he is staying and Jesus says “Come and see.” it means Jesus wants everyone to come and see where he is staying so we need to bring someone who is not Catholic to church.

Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 3:47 PM By JLS
k, lose the adverb, “strictly”, and your interpretation will sound more reasonable. What the fundamentalists mean by “strict interpretation” or “it’s not an interpretation, but the literal meaning” is a con game. Much of this has passed into the Catholic community via all the televangelism for more than fifty years now.

Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 3:48 PM By JLS
k, the internet is more than merely a medium of communication. As the late Catholic, Marshal McCluhan said, “The medium is the message”.

Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 5:04 PM By Abeca Christian

Posted Saturday, January 21, 2012 1:04 AM By (Rev.) Kim Batteau
I am a (male) minister of The Reformed Churches in The Netherlands. I appreciate very much this stirring call by religious leaders for the repudiation of same-sex conduct as the equivalent of marital sexual conduct. The Catholic Catechism gives us good advice on this and other issues.

Posted Saturday, January 21, 2012 9:43 PM By Kenneth M. Fisher
Gee JLS, and all along I thought Al Gore, who wouldn’t probably know what F=MA put in non Engineering terrms, means, had invented the internet and many other things! God bless, yours in Their Hearts, Kenneth M. Fisher

Posted Saturday, January 21, 2012 9:46 PM By Kenneth M. Fisher
Rev. Batteau, Welcome to California In love, I pray that you will find your way Home to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. God bless, yours in Their Hearts, Kenneth M. Fisher

Posted Monday, January 23, 2012 5:58 PM By Abeca Christian
(Rev.) Kim Batteau welcome!