Rally for Religious Freedom: Friar Francisco Nahoe, OFM Conv

Speech of Friar Francisco Nahoe, OFM Conv, at the Reno Rally for Religious Liberty, 23rd of March 2012.

Simón Bolivar, el gran libertador de las Américas, dijo, acerca de los EE.UU., que su gente fue criada en la libertad. De hecho, desde los inicios de las colonias, los valores de la libertad religiosa y de los derechos de consciencia han guido el crecimiento democrático de este país. Nosotros debemos nuestras libertades civiles a la lucha histórica para conservar las libertades religiosas.

A lo largo del mundo los primeros pasos del caudillismo empiezan con la supresión de derechos de consciencia y la restricción de libertades religiosas. Sendero Luminoso, Fidel Castro y Chavez, por un lado; Pinochet, Rios Montt y la junta argentina de la guerra sucia, por el otro lado – todos empezaron suprimiendo los derechos de consciencia. Sea de la derecha, sea de la izquierda, el caudillo no puede soportar la pluralidad religiosa porque la libertad religiosa es una fuerza natural dentro del estado democrático que se opone a cualquier abuso del poder.

El actual mandato del Departamento de Health and Human Services representa una equivocación asombrosa de parte de una administración que debería preocuparse con la defensa de la libertades religiosas y asiduamente evitar cualquier indiferencia hacia los derechos de consciencia. Sea lo que sea el motivo por haberlo instituido, subrayamos nuestro total desacuerdo con el mandato de HHS, porque hemos visto en nuestros propios tiempos el efecto concreto de la subversión de los derechos de consciencia en asuntos religiosos. Por lo cual estamos reunidos acá a manifestar nuevamente nuestra defensa de las libertades religiosas.

Mi papá inmigró a los Estados Unidos de una isla polinésica muy pobre y muy aislada para que sus hijos tuvieran oportunidades que él jamás habría soñado en su niñez. Ahora toca a nosotros defender los derechos que han hecho posibles las ilusiones de nuestros papás. Que Dios les bendiga y que el Señor también bendiga los Estados Unidos.

On March 1, U.S. Senate voted 51-48 to table the Blunt Amendment, that is, the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (S. 1467). At the time, Senator Heller, one of the sponsors of the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act, put these remarks into the Congressional Record:

The Senate is having a debate as to whether the federal government has the right to bully religious organizations. Let’s be clear, in no way would this amendment deny or interfere with a woman’s access to contraception. This is an absurd allegation. The debate today is about one thing and one thing only; whether the federal government can force religious organizations to provide a service that violates their faith. Supporters of the President’s healthcare law believe the federal government can oppress religious organizations, force individuals to buy a product they may not want, and put personal healthcare decisions in the government’s hands. This issue speaks directly to the intrusiveness of the President’s healthcare law – it is clear that this law was passed without regard to religious or individual freedom. We can reform our healthcare system to provide affordable access and care, but placing the government in between doctors and patients does a great disservice to everyone.”

Thank you, Senator Heller, for your support of the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act. Unfortunately, Nevada’s other senator sent me an e-mail last week in which he wrote “I opposed the Blunt amendment.” In that e-mail, the Senate Majority leader repeats the absurb contentions that the HHS mandate is about preventive health services and that religious freedoms are being protected by the White House. Neither of these contentions is correct and that is why we are demonstrating today. It’s too bad that Senator Reid’s office declined our invitation to be represented here today, as I would have liked to have asked for an explanation. Even so, it’s not too late for Senator Reid to show his support for American religious liberties and to co-sponsor the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (S. 1467) together with Senator Heller. Please ask him to do so. Thank you all very much.

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