Religion and Politics

I have written before about the unprecedented attack from this White House on the religious freedom in America.  The Orthodox Bishops in America released a 225 word statement released on February 2, 2012, without signatures of any of the bishops, and that has been the end of it.  There have been many statements on the economic situation in Greece but not one word about the potential infringement of one of the most fundamental principles that the United States of America was founded on.
I serve on the Committee for Church and Society for the Assembly of Bishops, a Committee that, after 2 years in existence, has not met or had any type of communication regarding our work. I am honored to have been selected to work on this committee and I hope one day we will begin our work.  The description of the committee on the webpage of the Assembly of Bishops has the following charge:
“The Committee for Church and Society will develop a process to determine both the propriety and the priority of advocacy by the Assembly of issues concerning Church, government and society that are relevant to the lives of the faithful in the Region (e.g., same-sex marriage, abortion, war, etc.).”
Under the heading, Terms of Reference is found as the first item to be accomplished this:
“Develop an initial list of issues (moral, social, cultural, ecological and political) that are of pressing importance for American society, about which it is incumbent for the Orthodox to present their soteriological view, for the sake both of educating the faithful and contributing to national policy debate”
I would think that the infringement of Religious Liberty in America would top this list because of this is taken away the rest really do not matter.  I am not sure who wrote the statement released on February but a one of the Consultants to the Committee I had nothing to do with it.
We are 6 months away from what will probably be the most important presidential election in American history and the committee that is charged with how the Church and Society are to interact has not even been introduced to each other.  We have yet to develop a list of issue nor release one statement on an issue.
Since the religious liberty issue came to the front of the news back at the start of the year, the Roman Catholic Church has been carrying the bulk of the water on this issue.  The issue of religious freedom is not just a Roman Catholic issue but an issue that affects all faithful in America.  It’s time we joined in the fight.
Yesterday 42 Roman Catholic Diocese and other institutions filed law suits against the Obama administration on this issue.  A statement released recently by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops has called all faithful Catholics to 14 days of prayer,study, catechesis and public action.  We Orthodox need a similar call to action.  This is an issue that affects, or will affect, all of us in the United States so we all need to be involved in this fight.
Almost 4 months ago the Assembly of Bishops released a statement, and I appreciate their words.  They called the faithful to action.  They asked all of us to call our representatives to voice our concern over the issue, and then they went silent.  If we are going to exist in society then we need to engage that society with what we believe.  We need to engage society to change society.  The Orthodox Church has so much to offer society, we can bring the light to the dark world but in order to do that we need a voice and the bishops of our Church are that voice.  They have called us to action, so it is time to act!

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