Monday, June 10, 2013

"Do You Say Your Prayers Well, My Children?" (Our Lady of LaSalette, Sept. 19, 1846)

Today, in many parts of the world, and here at home, the Church is battling for the freedom to proclaim the Gospel in service to the poor, the widow, the sick, and those she serves through education. We Christians are meeting with increasing violence against the faith in large areas of the globe.  Recently, in an address to the UN Human Rights Council, Vatican spokesman Monsieur Silvano Maria Tomassi said,

"Credible research has reached the shocking conclusion that an estimate of more than 100,000 Christians are violently killed because of some relation to their faith every year," Tuesday in a radio address to the United Nations Human Rights Council. 

"Other Christians and other believers are subjected to forced displacement, to the destruction of their places of worship, to rape and to the abduction of their leaders, as it recently happened in the case of Bishops Yohanna Ibrahim and Boulos Yaziji, in Aleppo [Syria]," Tomassi said.

Here at home, we see what is so far, less violent, but Christian-directed persecution on the increase. Indeed, the IRS has been targeting religious groups who support pro-life causes, and when I read what was being asked of these groups by the IRS, I was shocked.  I took a look at the correspondence with the IRS relating to the applications of several pro-life Christian groups for non-profit status.  The Thomas More Society is representing these groups in battling the IRS.  That information is available online here: The quotes below come from that webpage.  

The IRS asked Christian Voices for Life of South Bend Indiana, in their 40 Days for Life Campaign if they presented both sides of the issue, in spite of the fact that there is no requirement in the law that they do so. The IRS asked, “During your 40 Days for Life Campaign or Life Chain do you try to block people’s entry into a building?”

Even more troubling was the harassment of the Coalition for Life of Iowa.  The IRS demanded of the Coalition: “You stated you sponsored a forum on stem cells, End of Life Decisions, and a possible forum on Contraception. Please describe in detail the information provided at each of these forums. Will there be advocating for certain changes in the law or proposed legislation? Please provide the copies of all advertisements, schedules, syllabuses, handouts, a summary of each person’s speech, and any other information provided at these forums.”

In a follow up phone call from the IRS, the agent asked the representative of the organization if the group organized picketing at Planned Parenthood.  When the organization’s representative said she had organized picketing at Planned Parenthood, the agent wanted to know how that could be stopped.

In another letter from the IRS to the Coalition, this was asked: “Please explain how all of your activities, including prayer meetings held outside PP are considered educational….Please explain in detail the activities at these prayer meetings.” (Emphasis added)

The IRS further demanded that every member of the Board of Directors for the Coalition for Life sign a statement under penalty of perjury that they would not picket or protest or organize others to picket outside of Planned Parenthood.

Of course, all of this was very intimidating.  As soon as lawyers from the Thomas More Society got involved and wrote responses to the IRS, the organizations were given their legal status as charitable organizations.

So, where is the country headed? You need to ask yourselves a couple of important questions…What is this going to mean for you when the IRS takes over Health care beginning August 1?

Are you willing to stand up for your religious and conscience rights to try to bolster this freedom?

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