Eric Scheidler speaks on religious freedom in Indianapolis on Sep 22
[Photo by Bill Spence]
On September 22, it was my great honor to deliver the keynote address at an event at St Barnabas Catholic Church in Indianapolis entitled “Religious Freedom: As American as Apple Pie.” The great program was organized by Chuck Stumpf and the St Barnabas Religious Liberty Action Committee, and featured a Boy Scouts color guard, singing of the national anthem, and four speakers, followed by an apple pie social.
I was preceded at the podium by Sr Rose Marie of the Little Sisters of the Poor, which provides elder care at St Augustine Home and Sr Marlene Shapley, vice president of mission services for the Franciscan Alliance healthcare network, who both spoke about how their charitable work is being undermined by the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and its restrictions on religious freedom.
Then the Thomas More Society‘s Kevin White offered an encouraging update on the legal fight against the HHS Mandate, the Obamacare rule that requires employer health plans to provide free contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs.
The Freedom to Be Faithful
In my talk, I echoed the theme of the event, “freedom to be faithful,” reviewing just how the HHS Mandate tramples religious freedom both with its narrow definition of what constitutes a religious employer and its demand that all others subvert their consciences to the will of the state. I urged the audience of 200 to continue educating their friends and neighbors on what’s at stake in this fight, which is nothing less than liberty itself.
I explained that the purpose of the First Amendment’s protections of speech, religion and assembly is to foster an environment in which the truth can thrive—including the truths about the human person, marriage and sexuality proclaimed in the Catholic teaching on contraception.
I exhorted the crowd not to neglect to defend those truths in their work against the HHS Mandate. Abstract concepts like religious liberty and freedom of conscience must be upheld, but so too must the very teachings—unpopular though they may be—which inspire the exercise of those freedoms by faithful Christians.
Nurse Reconsiders Approval of Contraception
That means both coming to a clear understanding of the Catholic vision for sexuality, especially as proclaimed in Pope Paul VI’s encyclical, Humanae Vitae, which reaffirmed the immorality of artificial contraception, and living out that vision fully in one’s own life.
My talk was very well received, and I had the opportunity to talk with many attendees at the apple pie social—including a nurse who said she would have to reconsider her opposition to Humanae Vitae in light of my remarks.
Thanks to Chuck Stumpf for inviting me to speak and to St Barnabas pastor Msgr Anthony Volz for hosting this great event.