As Americans, we are preparing to celebrate Thanksgiving. For many citizens, this year's celebration will have a somber feel to it.
In his 1941 State of the Union address, Franklin Roosevelt spoke of four essential human freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear. It is these freedoms we traditionally celebrate at Thanksgiving time.
The sense of freedom, though, has been diminished for Catholic Americans, whose religious rights have been infringed upon by the Obama administration's infamous Health and Human Services mandate, forcing Catholic health care and social agencies to provide abortive and contraceptive services to their employees, even though these things go against our faith. Not only was this issue largely overlooked by voters in the recent election (including a slight majority of Catholic voters), it was twisted by the Obama campaign and mainstream media into a fictitious "war on women."
Remarkably, Mitt Romney's position that Catholics should not be forced to pay for services that violate their conscience was misrepresented as a push to take away women's rights. It was a totally groundless charge; yet many fell for it nonetheless. Now the rights of conscience of Catholic women and men have been taken away. As awful as this situation is, it is worsened by the fact that so few seem to care much about it. Have Americans become so dispassionate in the cause of freedom that it can so easily, and uneventfully, be taken away from their fellow citizens?
It certainly seems so to Catholics this Thanksgiving.