This weekend as we celebrate the Fourth of July, we are hearing a great deal about the freedoms we have received because of the great sacrifices of men and women who have laid down their lives for us in protecting our freedom and securing our Independence as a nation. We are a nation built on freedom.
One of the freedoms gained and enjoyed by the founding fathers of our country is Freedom of Religion. As Catholics and as Americans, we are called to guard and defend religious liberty as well as our other freedoms. If we are to do the good works to which our faith calls us, we must have freedom to follow our consciences and practice our religion. Religious liberty is about whether we can make our contribution to the common good of all Americans. Can we do the good works our faith calls us to do, without having to compromise that very same faith? Without religious liberty, all Americans suffer, deprived of the essential contributions in education, health care, feeding the hungry, civil rights, and social services that religious Americans make every day.
The right to religious freedom is based on the very dignity of the human person as the Second Vatican Council document Declaration on Religious Liberty reminds us all. As we celebrate this Independence weekend, let us also pray in thanksgiving for our gift of freedom and continue to safeguard our religious liberty.