If you’re a pro-lifer who has been in this movement for any amount of time you’ve likely grown to respect the Catholic church’s stand on abortion. You may not agree with all their beliefs, but you can’t deny they’ve been a consistent voice for life over this past century.
Currently Catholic leaders are fighting an oppressive requirement from the Department of Health and Human Services, which would force Catholic schools, hospitals and other organizations to provide health insurance to their employees which includes sterilization, coverage for abortion inducing drugs, and subsidized contraception. This requirement backs them into a corner, forcing them to comply and go against their core convictions and religious beliefs or suffer grave consequences. (Read yesterday’s story about this for more detail)
Thankfully many bishops are taking a stand. A version of the same letter written by various bishops of was read in congregations across the country last week declaring they will not comply with this policy. In an online article from “Catholic Online,” Deacon Keith Fournier references a recent address the Pope gave in which he praised America’s founders for their commitment to religious freedom and their belief that Judeo-Christian moral teachings are essential to shaping citizens and democratic institutions. The Pope then warned that the heritage of religious freedoms faces “grave threats” from the “radical secularism” of political and cultural opinion leaders who are “increasingly hostile to Christianity.”
The Pope is correct in his assessment of the times we are in and what believers are facing in this hour. If we don’t boldly stand for our first amendment rights to freedom of religion in all forms, then who will? As believers we must stand with the Catholic church in this battle. Their fight is our fight. We must pray with and for them as well as taking action by contacting Congress with your objections.
Their brave refusal to bow to this governmental decree reminds me of the story of three Hebrews boys in the Old Testament book of Daniel. When an order was released from the King, commanding everyone to bow to a golden idol, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego refused.
Daniel Chapter 3:14-18: “Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the gold image which I have set up? 15 Now if you are ready at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, and you fall down and worship the image which I have made, good! But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?”
16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. 18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”
Those young men knew the consequence for not bowing to the idol was death. Yet even in the face of possibly losing their lives they refused to compromise their beliefs. This is the kind of faith and courage that pleases God and shifts nations. The boys were thrown into the furnace, yet miraculously not consumed by the raging flames. The King was astonished to see a fourth man among them, one who he declared looked like a son of God. He called them out of the fire and was shocked to see that not even the hair on their heads was singed, nor did they smell like smoke.
In utter amazement King Nebuchadnezzar declared:
“28 “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God! 29 Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation, or language which speaks anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made an ash heap; because there is no other God who can deliver like this.” Daniel Ch 3:28-29
The reward for their heroic stand was the King seeing the power of supernatural protection, a wicked law being overturned and glory being given to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego. Remember this friends, God is greater than any government known to man. In the times ahead we will see more unjust laws and unrighteous legislation that will test our faith and tempt our convictions. The reality that wickedness will increase as we approach the Lord’s return is inevitable. The question for us is how will we respond? Will we cave when the pressure is on, deny our beliefs and be passive in the face of adversity? Or will be fight for what we know is true, no matter what the personal cost? Like the Hebrew boys, the decisions we make today will affect generations to come. They will be spoken of in the pages of our history books and the courts of heaven.
Hebrews 10:39 says “But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.” Let’s refuse to cower in fear and move forward in faith. We stand for life no matter what the cost. We boldly agree with Bishop’s letter and declare for an unjust law we “cannot and will not comply!”