Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith A. Fournier

10/16/2008 (5 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

I am appalled that Barry Lynn and Rob Boston are now blatantly threatening our Church and her Bishops. As a Deacon, I will not be bullied. As a lawyer, I am ready to defend against this dangerous threat.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith A. Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

10/16/2008 (5 years ago)

Published in Politics & Policy


CHESAPEAKE, Va. (Catholic Online) - Rob Boston of “Americans United for the Separation of Church and State” has decided to engage in verbal bullying with the leadership of the U.S. Catholic Church. In a posting on the AU web site entitled “Texas Side Step: Bishops’ Letter Attacking Pro-Choice Candidates Attempts To Sashay Past Federal Tax Law”, the Assistant Director of Communications has signaled their legal strategy.

The group has quite a history of anti-Catholicism in their efforts. They were originally called “Protestants United for the Separation of Church and State”, but changed their name for obvious reasons. However, with their recent efforts to bully Catholic Bishops who have the courage to bravely teach Moral truth, they seem to be reverting to their past. Boston tells AU supporters:

“Bishops are issuing letters telling Catholics they cannot vote for candidates who hold pro-choice views and remain in good standing in the church. Two Texas bishops have released a letter informing their congregants whom they can and can’t vote for and remain faithful members of the Roman Catholic Church. The missive by Bishop Kevin Farrell of the Diocese of Dallas and Bishop Kevin Vann of the Diocese of Fort Worth is being read in all Catholic churches in the area. It states in part, “To vote for a candidate who supports the intrinsic evil of abortion or ‘abortion rights’ when there is a morally acceptable alternative would be to cooperate in the evil – and, therefore, morally impermissible.” The letter never mentions Democratic candidate Barack Obama or his opponent, John McCain, by name. But you’d have to be very dense indeed not to get the message. Farrell and Vann go on to assert that other issues traditionally important to Catholics – social justice, care for the poor, health care – need not be seriously considered this year. Instead, Catholics must base their vote on abortion….”

Boston then attempts to add more weight to his misguided effort to besmirch the Bishops of Texas by borrowing the authority of his boss, the Reverend Barry Lynn. He continues:“Americans United Executive Director Barry W. Lynn said the bishops are walking a fine line. “This is clearly an attempt on the part of these bishops to do an end-run around the federal tax law ban on electioneering by churches,” Lynn told the Morning News. Farrell and Vann are not the only bishops deliberately striding into a legal gray area this election season. A similar letter was issued by Bishop Joseph F. Martino of Scranton, Pa., and was read in churches Oct. 4-5. In the letter, Martino insisted that faithful Catholics must vote solely on the issue of abortion and not support any pro-choice candidates. Martino went even further, adding, “[P]ublic officials who are Catholic and who persist in public support for abortion and other intrinsic evils should not partake in or be admitted to the sacrament of Holy Communion. As I have said before, I will be vigilant on this subject.”So, less than three weeks before the election, bishops are issuing letters telling Catholics that they cannot vote for candidates who hold pro-choice views and remain in good standing in the church. That sure sounds to me like the church is favoring certain candidates over others and trying to affect the outcome of the race…”

I believe that Barry Lynn and Rob Boston’s interpretation of the Establishment Clause, Free Speech Clause and Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution is simply wrong. It is not faithful to history, it is not a proper reading of Constitutional law, it is not good for the public order and it does not promote or serve the common good. This clause was never intended by the American founders to prevent religious groups from full participation in the public square nor to censor out religious speech or the religious speaker from civic participation. It most certainly was never intended to stop Bishops from being Moral teachers.

The “Establishment Clause” is better understood as an “anti-Establishment Clause” because it was intended to prevent the erection of a National Church. Of course, as a Catholic, I am quite sensitive to the fact that the early American colonies were not, for the most part, very Catholic friendly. However, over time, that changed. And, properly understood, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution has allowed for a robust diversity of religious expression (or non-expression) and the flourishing of a dynamic model of religious freedom in America. That is, when it is properly interpreted and applied.

However, Rev. Lynn wants to erect a Wall far greater in scope than the metaphorical wall which has been used in Establishment clause jurisprudence to explain the American notion of separation. His notion of a wall would expunge religious expression from the public discourse and impede the freedom of the Church to speak to the great moral issues of the age. Now, Rob Boston attempts to bully the US Bishops who are doing what they must, teaching on matters of moral truth, by threatening their tax exemption. This is one more example of a growing dark cloud on the horizon of religious freedom in this wonderful Nation.

To my fellow Catholics, Americans United is threatening to attack the tax exemption of our Church. In the early days of my own work as a Constitutional lawyer, my Catholicism was a problem for Rev. Barry Lynn. Because of me, and others like me, he was unable to convince folks that all Christian people with whom he disagreed over the Right to Life and a host of other issues were “fundamentalists”. He wanted to denigrate us all by assigning us to what he hoped to argue was a small segment of Protestant Christianity, the "fundamentalists', who were a threat to the Republic.

He failed then and he must fail now.

I am appalled that Barry Lynn and Rob Boston are now blatantly threatening our Church and her Bishops. As a Deacon, I will not be bullied. As a lawyer, I am also ready to defend against this dangerous threat. I know I am not alone and I call on all Catholic and other Christian lawyers to get ready. If these bullies attempt to take away the tax exempt status of the Catholic Church, they must be strongly opposed. Together we must stand up for an authentic understanding of religious freedom, defend our Church and oppose this anti-Christian bullying.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2014
Sports:
That sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth.
Lay Missionaries: That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.



Comments


More Politics & Policy

U.S. Bishops say Obama's executive order 'implements discrimination' Watch

Image of Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, pictured, and Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo in a statement noted that the executive order, which will impact a fifth of the U.S. workforce, discriminates against faithful Catholics.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A new order by U.S. President Obama that forbids federal contractors from discriminating "on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity," has been denounced by U.S. bishops as "unprecedented and extreme and should be opposed" and, in effect, ... continue reading


Israel harshly critical of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, called 'an Alien' Watch

Image of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's apparent decision to use Qatar as a conduit through which to communicate with Hamas, effectively ditching an earlier Egyptian proposal which the group had rejected has stirred the pot.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The United States and Israel have been the staunchest of allies since Israel reached statehood following World War II - but this doesn't mean that the nations have always seen eye-to-eye. Indeed, the right-wing faction of the Israeli government are harshly ... continue reading


President Obama is 'mailing it in', bought the farm - spending lots of time golfing and goofing off Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Lackadaisical. That word is used to define "lacking enthusiasm and determination; carelessly lazy." Lackadaisical appears to described U.S. President Barack Obama as of late. The president is pending an awful lot of time playing golf while the nation and the ... continue reading


In President Obama's war on religious freedom the people suffer another loss Watch

Image of A July 21 executive order has dealt a huge blow to the cause of freedom of religion in the United States.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Barack Obama's July 21 executive order prohibiting discrimination based on sexual-self-identification has lead to strong criticism from several prominent U.S. bishops, calling the executive order "unprecedented and extreme." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Efforts against female genital mutilation could be thwarted by population growth Watch

Image of Due partly to community activism and legislation, the prevalence of FGM, which involves the cutting away of the external female genitalia, and the marriage of girls under the age of 18 has decreased slightly over the last 30 years, UNICEF said.

By Lisa Anderson, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Advances in fighting female genital mutilation, or FGM and child marriage could be offset by population growth unless the rate of progress increases, according to new data released Tuesday by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). (Thomson Reuters ... continue reading


FREE SPEECH VIOLATED: Tea party groups' lawsuit against IRS proceeds Watch

Image of Among the individuals named in the lawsuit is Lois Lerner, who headed the division that processes applications for tax-exempt status at that time.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

They're not going to take it - and they're taking their claims to court. A federal judge has allowed a lawsuit by 10 tea party groups to move forward against the Internal Revenue Service. The judge rejected a request by the federal government to dismiss all the ... continue reading


'Suing the president is the right path to go down here,' Boehner declares Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The House of Representatives has no plans to use its own constitutional authority to withhold funding from actions by President Obama. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) indicated that if the president takes actions that exceed his constitutional authority, ... continue reading


Federal government says state death penalties are 'unconstitutional' Watch

Image of A federal judge has called California's death penalty unconstitutional. Surprisingly though, this judge is a conservative republican, a party that has long opposed federal overreach into state rights.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A federal judge ruled that California's death penalty is unconstitutional on July 16, claiming that the state's system is arbitrary, unfair, and cruel and unusual because of a lengthy process that leaves prisoners in the dark about their actual death row status. ... continue reading


'American people have a right to know,' Issa proclaims Watch

Image of Darrel Issa says that Simas' testimony was

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa of California said administration claims that White House political director David Simas was immune from testimony were "absurd" and "deeply disturbing." Defying a subpoena, Issa has now set up a new high-profile fight ... continue reading


Cheat on your taxes? It just got a lot easier Watch

Image of If you still fear a knock at your door anytime soon, it must be noted that one's chances of getting audited vary greatly and are based on income.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

If you cheat on your taxes - or senselessly worry that some indiscretion in your recent past will have the Internal Revenue Service shortly breathing down your neck - things just got a little bit brighter. The GOP-controlled House has voted to slash the budget ... continue reading


All Politics & Policy News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 13:1-11
1 Yahweh said this to me, 'Go and buy a linen ... Read More

Psalm, Deuteronomy 32:18-19, 20, 21
18 (You forget the Rock who fathered you, the God who ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:31-35
31 He put another parable before them, 'The kingdom ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 28th, 2014 Image

St. Innocent I
July 28: Innocent was born at Albano, Italy. He became Pope, succeeding ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter