Standing up for Religious Freedom 

Bishops begin Fortnight of activities to reaffirm our first, most cherished liberty as Americans see support for liberty in theaters, bookstores and on the frontlines

by Kevin Wandra Thursday, June 21, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For More Information:
Alexis Walkenstein, 561-445-5409 or
AWalkenstein@MaximusMG.com;
Tim Lilley, 678-990-9032 or
TLilley@MaximusMG.com;
Kevin Wandra, 678-990-9032, or
KWandra@MaximusMG.com

ATLANTA, June 21, 2012 – Across America today, people from all walks of life begin participating in the Fortnight for Freedom, an event developed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to support a national campaign of teaching and witness for religious liberty. The event comes as popular culture sees movies, books and projects to support U.S. troops emphasize the importance of standing up for liberty.

At 7 p.m. ET tonight in Baltimore, Most Rev. William E. Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore, will celebrate a Mass that serves as the formal opening of the USCCB’s Fortnight for Freedom. Archbishop Lori chairs the conference’s Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, which earlier this year released Our First, Most Cherished Liberty – a statement on religious liberty.

The USCCB announced today a texting campaign that enables anyone to join the Fortnight for Freedom and receive information on how they can help protect and defend religious liberty throughout the world.

Anyone interested in joining the campaign can text “Freedom” or “Libertad” to 377377. In response, they will receive information regularly on how to help protect religious freedom worldwide.

“Across America, our right to live out our faith is being threatened — from Washington’s forcing Catholic institutions to provide services that contradict their beliefs, to state governments’ prohibiting religious charities from serving the most vulnerable,” Archbishop Lori said in announcing the texting campaign. “We encourage all supporters around the country to text the simple, meaningful word ‘Freedom’ (for English) or ‘Libertad’ (for Spanish) to 377377 to join the movement.”

“Religious liberty is not only about our ability to go to Mass on Sunday or pray the Rosary at home,” the bishops note in Our First, Most Cherished Liberty. “It is about whether we can make our contribution to the common good of all Americans. Can we do the good works our faith calls us to do, without having to compromise that very same faith? Without religious liberty properly understood, all Americans suffer, deprived of the essential contribution in education, health care, feeding the hungry, civil rights, and social services that religious Americans make every day, both here at home and overseas.”

The concepts of religious liberty, the freedom to contribute to society without compromising conscience and making choices at the ballot box to reaffirm rights guaranteed by the First Amendment are finding their way into mainstream culture – not just through events like the Fortnight for Freedom, but through the film FOR GREATER GLORY and its official companion book; the book INDIVISIBLE; and the FRONTLINE FAITH project.

FOR GREATER GLORY
FOR GREATER GLORY, an epic action film that tells the true story of Mexico’s Cristero War for religious freedom, continues to draw audiences across the country. The film chronicles an impassioned group of men and women who each make the decision to risk it all for family, faith and the very future of their country, as the adventure unfolds against the long-hidden, true story of the daring people’s revolt that rocked 20th Century North America.

“Every person of faith should draw courage from the tragically heroic witness of the Cristeros,” said Fr. Andrew Small, national director of the Pontifical Missions Society. “Their sacrifice reminds us that unless we learn from history, we risk repeating it.”

“This film has impact,” said Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Pro Life Action League. “It brings to life the real events and true story of the Cristero War, and the brave men and women who paid the ultimate price to preserve their most basic and precious rights and freedoms. Those rights and freedoms continue to face assault today around the world – including here in America.”

Anyone interested in seeing FOR GREATER GLORY can find a list of theaters and links to online ticketing at the film’s official website – www.ForGreaterGlory.com.

FOR GREATER GLORY OFFICIAL COMPANION BOOK
FOR GREATER GLORY: THE TRUE STORY OF CRISTIADA is the official companion book to the film of the same name. The 150-page volume, loaded with rare and revealing historical and film photos, is written by Ruben Quezada, a recognized expert on the Cristero War and the Cristiada. English and Spanish editions of the book are available from Ignatius Press.

Quezada is Director for the Catholic Resource Center and St. Joseph Communications, Inc., in Southern California, and has travelled internationally as a bilingual speaker giving presentations on the Cristiada.

Quezada delves deep into the history of this conflict. He provides a look into the Cristero fighters, the reasons behind the Mexican government’s ruthless persecution of Catholics, the role of the Knights of Columbus in the conflict, the characters from the film who have been canonized or beatified, and many other issues – including the lesson of the Cristiada for those struggling for religious freedom today.

The book includes a foreword by Most Rev. José H. Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles; an introduction by actor Eduardo Verástegui, who plays Blessed Anacleto Gonzalez Flores in FOR GREATER GLORY; and an essay by Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight Carl Anderson.

INDIVISIBLE
Also continuing to garner attention across the country is the thought-provoking book INDIVISIBLE: RESTORING FAITH, FAMILY AND FREEDOM BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE. Co-Authors Jay Richards, a Catholic, and James Robison, an Evangelical Christian, tackle tough moral and political issues facing Christians today, including abortion; stem cell research; marriage; education; economics; health care; the environment; judicial activism; terrorism; free trade; and more. Ignatius Press has published a Catholic edition of the book that includes a foreword by Ignatius Press Founder and Editor Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J.

“It is relatively easy to observe that our society is fast reaching a climactic moment,” said Fr. Robert A. Sirico, President of the Acton Institute. “How to discern a wise, credible, effective and prudent course of action to avoid disaster is not so easy to come across. Jay Richards and James Robison make an important contribution in pointing the way to avoid the worst effects of a coming cultural and economic tsunami.”

“INDIVISIBLE builds a sure bridge of faith and reason over which our country can walk, from our present state of confusion and peril into a new era of peace and prosperity,” said Fox News Analyst Fr. Jonathan Morris. “My friends James Robison and Jay Richards have given the Christian community – indeed, all of us – an invaluable tool for hope.”

FRONTLINE FAITH
As people read this press release, American soldiers are listening to FRONTLINE FAITH MP3 players in Afghanistan and throughout the Middle East; in Asia; on U.S. military bases around the world; and in military hospitals.

More than two-thirds of America’s active-duty service men and women are Christian, and FRONTLINE FAITH has an MP3 player loaded with prayers and inspiration for every one of them. The organization honors every request it receives for an MP3 player, providing them free of charge to soldiers of all Christian faiths.

FRONTLINE FAITH produces MP3 players packed with prayers and inspirational material for Catholics and Protestants. Each programming package includes features exclusive to its target audience (Catholic or Protestant) and common features that include letters from children and inspirational music. Catholics will find a full Mass recorded at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.; Rosary meditations; and a variety of prayers. Protestants will find faith-filled commentaries and messages from pastors, chaplains and troops.

With America beginning the Fortnight for Freedom today leading up to July 4 – our Independence Day set aside to honor and celebrate the precious freedom U.S. troops defend 24/7 – FRONTLINE FAITH continues to work tirelessly to produce and distribute thousands of MP3 players. And while the impact has been significant, the remaining task is daunting. Consider the following numbers from the Department of Defense, reflecting active-duty troops through Jan. 31, 2012:

• More than 272,000 identify as Roman Catholic
• More than 322,000 identify as Christians without a denomination preference
• More than 151,000 identify as members of a Baptist church
“Our troops tell me they are STARVING for spiritual support,” said FRONTLINE FAITH Founder Cheri Lomonte. “We must feed those who protect our country and our gift of liberty. The MP3 players are food for the souls of our military. I want to put a player in the hands of all those who protect us.”

Lomonte formed FRONTLINE FAITH in 2009 after learning that a large number of American soldiers deployed overseas sometimes go extraordinary amounts of time without access to a chaplain or religious services.

U.S. bishops intend the Fortnight for Freedom to be a tool for showing politicians, government officials and the rest of the world that freedom demands that Americans – and all people – have the ability to contribute and serve without worry that their actions will be regulated in ways that will force them to belie their faith and deny their conscience.

For more information on the Fortnight for Freedom, including a list of activities scheduled across the country between today and July 4, visit http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/fortnight-for-freedom/fortnight-freedom-diocesan-activities.cfm.

For more information on FOR GREATER GLORY, visit the official website at www.ForGreaterGlory.com or the online newsroom for the film at http://maxondeadline.com/forgreaterglory/.

For more information on the official companion book, FOR GREATER GLORY: THE TRUE STORY OF CRISTIADA, visit http://www.ignatius.com/Products/FGGL-P/for-greater-glory-the-true-story-of-cristiada.aspx or the online newsroom at http://maxondeadline.com/forgreaterglory/official-companion-book/.

For more information on INDIVISIBLE, visit http://www.ignatius.com/promotions/indivisible-catholic/ or the online newsroom for the book at http://maxondeadline.com/indivisible-home/.

For more information on FRONTLINE FREEDOM, visit www.FrontlineFaithProject.org or the online newsroom at http://maxondeadline.com/frontlinefaith/.

To request a review copy of INDIVISIBLE, more information and still photos from FOR GREATER GLORY, a review copy of the film’s official companion book, a sample FRONTLINE FAITH MP3 player, or to schedule interviews (those available include FOR GREATER GLORY Producer Pablo Barroso, companion book author Ruben Quezada, INDIVISIBLE co-author Jay Richards, FRONTLINE FAITH Founder Cheri Lomonte and spokespersons to discuss the Fortnight for Freedom), please contact Alexis Walkenstein (561-445-5409 or AWalkenstein@MaximusMG.com), Tim Lilley (678-990-9032 or TLilley@MaximusMG.com) or Kevin Wandra (678-990-9032, or KWandra@MaximusMG.com) with The Maximus Group.

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0    submitted by Kevin Wandra
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