July 12, 2016 |
Summer is here, and the warm weather has flooded historic Philadelphia with thousands of tourists - everyone from American schoolchildren to international guests. Some locals might scoff at this influx of curious visitors, but not me. Their presence reminds me that I live in a special city. The cobblestone streets that I walk every day were the cornerstones of our nation. And because faith was so important to our nation's founders, it is impossible to explore the City of Brotherly Love without noting the centrality of religious institutions.
December 21, 2015
Armando Valladares is the author of the best-selling memoir "Against All Hope" and the recipient of the Becket Fund's 2016 Canterbury Medal In December of 1785, George Washington received a letter from Quaker abolitionist Robert Pleasants pleading with him to make a priority of ending slavery. Eighty years later - 150 years ago this month - he got his wish. This month marks the sesquicentennial of the ratification of the 13th Amendment, which officially ended the scourge of slavery in America.
September 28, 2015 |
Pope Francis' address Saturday on Independence Mall was widely expected to focus on immigration and perhaps the plight of refugees, a topic dear to the pontiff. The speech did, but spoke more to the issue of protecting religious liberty - a topic dear to Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput. Francis began by noting that it was here in Philadelphia - and in the backdrop to his speech, Independence Hall - that the Founding Fathers codified the religious freedoms that most Americans assume as a birthright.
September 21, 2015 |
A statue representing religious freedom and immigration stands at the site where Pope Francis will deliver a speech on those themes. Religious Liberty , outside the National Museum of American Jewish History, shows a woman, symbolizing liberty, shielding a boy with a lamp, representing religious faith. On the opposite side of the woman is a carved eagle crushing a snake, a classic symbol of American democracy and representing the country's continuing struggle against intolerance.
June 29, 2015 |
The Supreme Court's dramatic expansion of the right to marry last week marked a sharp division in the justices' views of the Constitution. But the famous phrase from the preamble is pertinent: This watershed ruling makes the nation and many of its families more perfect unions. Justice Anthony Kennedy's opinion for the majority drew on an understanding of our founding document as an expansive and expanding promise of individual liberty and equality under the law. "The identification and protection of fundamental rights is an enduring part of the judicial duty to interpret the Constitution," Kennedy wrote.
February 5, 2013
America's Big Religious War ended on Friday. Or at least it ought to. A little more than a year ago, the Obama administration set off a bitter and unnecessary clash with the Roman Catholic Church over rules mandating broad contraception coverage under the Affordable Care Act. The Department of Health and Human Services' announcement of new regulations is a clear statement that President Obama never wanted this fight. The decision ought to be taken by the nation's Catholic bishops as a victory, because it is. Many in their ranks, including some of the country's most prominent prelates, are inclined to do just that - even if the most conservative bishops seem to want to keep the battle raging.
November 30, 2012
ALDOUS HUXLEY once made this chilling observation: "A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude. " I thought of this in the days after the election, as the Left and the Right started arguing about what this country will look like in four more years. Those of us who did not vote for Barack Obama fear that the 2.0 version of his administration will permanently move us from a nation of makers to a nation of takers.
June 3, 2012 |
Last month, Catholic archdioceses and institutions across the nation filed lawsuits against the Department of Health and Human Services for its overreaching mandate announced earlier this year. The mandate would force church-affiliated hospitals, agencies, and universities to pay for services that violate their faith (such as contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs) as part of the health insurance they provide employees. If these groups do not comply, they will incur large penalties that may ultimately force many to close.
May 25, 2012 |
Finally, my church spoke truth to power, and fired a legal — and most likely lethal — shot against an oppressive, unconstitutional requirement that Catholics be forced to subsidize sin. True, not everyone thinks that artificial birth control is sinful, and that would include about the 98% of Catholic women who use it. But it's one thing to say that you as an individual disagree with a fundamental church principle, and quite another...
March 11, 2012
Alan Milstein practices law in Moorestown, N.J., and teaches bioethics at Temple University Republicans are trying to make the point that the current debate about contraceptives is about religious liberty, not about access. Indeed, on Meet The Press recently, Newt Gingrich said Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown Law student maligned by Rush Limbaugh, has always had full access to contraceptives, just not through the medical insurance policy she and other students purchased through their university.