Friday, June 21, 2013

Fortnight for Freedom

As Virginians we take great pride in the 1786 Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, precursor to the non-establishment and free exercise clause of the First Amendment. We forget that prior to that in Virginia you could have your children taken away for not being baptized in what we now call the Episcopal Church. Jews, Catholics, and even other Protestants were persecuted simply for their worship.

Today we begin fourteen days (a fortnight) of prayer to insure that every person and institution of every faith continue to have the freedom to remain true to their faith and conscience.

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops invites us all to pray each day for from today until July 4.

O God Our Creator,
from your provident hand we have received
our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. You have called us as your people and given us the right and the duty to worship you, the only true God, and your Son, Jesus Christ.

Through the power and working of your Holy Spirit,
you call us to live out our faith in the midst of the world, bringing the light and the saving truth of the Gospel
to every corner of society.

We ask you to bless us
in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty.
Give us the strength of mind and heart
to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened;
give us courage in making our voices heard
on behalf of the rights of your Church
and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith.
Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father,
a clear and united voice to all your sons and daughters gathered in your Church
in this decisive hour in the history of our nation,
so that, with every trial withstood
and every danger overcome—
for the sake of our children, our grandchildren,
and all who come after us—
this great land will always be “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.