March 13, 2014
Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Law Center. (Photo by Jerry Circelli)
Battle tested and ready to take to take the fight to those who tread on religious liberties, Richard Thompson came to Fort Worth recently to relay some reports about what’s happening on the front lines.
President and chief counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Thompson gave his update March 6 at the Fort Worth Club to members of the local chapter of Legatus, a group of Catholic business leaders.
Thompson once served as prosecutor on multiple trials of Dr. Jack Kevorkian, who was eventually convicted of second-degree murder after 130 reported “assisted suicides.” Now however, the former prosecutor heads up a team of lawyers and 700 allied attorneys in every state offering pro-bono help on cases involving religious liberty issues. Their mission includes restoring and defending America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and moral values.
“We are the sword and shield of people of faith,” Thompson said.
The head of the law center referenced a recent homily by Pope Francis who only two days before Thompson’s talk said, “I tell you that today there are more martyrs than during the early times of the Church.”
In response to the pope’s comments, Thompson said, “Right now we need courageous Christians to stand up and fight for their faith and take action.”
Thompson brought the point home by citing a Feb. 26 federal judge’s decision to strike down the Texas Defense of Marriage Amendment. The amendment attempted to preserve the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman, and specified that Texas did not recognize same-sex marriages or civil unions.
The Texas Catholic Conference, the official body of the bishops of Texas, issued a statement following that decision.
“This is the latest maneuver in a unfortunate campaign to redefine marriage as a legal endorsement of individual lifestyles rather than as a sacred and beneficial social institution between one man and one woman. This campaign totally ignores the rights of children to know their father’s love and their mother’s love,” the bishops said in the statement. “While we maintain the deepest love and compassion for all our brothers and sisters, we also recognize that the institution of marriage acts as the foundational unit of society and culture. … No new civil definition of marriage can change what is rooted in the very nature of human beings or what has been revealed by God to be a fundamental and sacred institution within society and the community of the Church.”
It was originally put on the Nov. 8, 2005, ballot as Proposition 2, Thompson explained, and was passed by 76 percent of the state’s voters in that election.
“Yet one single judge — appointed, holding a lifetime appointment, not in any way subservient to the will of the people — has now decided on his own that the Texas law is unconstitutional,” Thompson said.
To truly understand the erosion of moral values and religious liberties in America, Thompson took a historical look at the crisis, by outlining the following:
“It started in the 1960s. In 1962 the Supreme Court outlawed school prayer. In 1963, the court declared pornography was a free-speech right. In 1963, the same year, they outlawed Bible readings in public schools. In 1973, as you know, they made abortion a Constitutional right.”
The illogical arguments and religious freedom erosions continue on several fronts today, Thompson said, including the Health and Human Services Mandate that requires, by federal law, employers to provide health insurance for their workers to include contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients.
“The federal government is intentionally forcing its citizens to violate their God-given constitutionally guaranteed right to free exercise of religion and conscience,” Thompson said.
Thompson also discussed several cases under way by the Thomas More Law Center. One involves a Catholic priest who Thompson said was ordered not to perform any of his duties, even on a voluntary basis, as chaplain during the government shutdown last year. The order caused the cancellation of daily and weekend Masses, confessions, marriage preparation classes, baptisms, and the spiritual guidance the priest was called by his faith to provide. The law center is bringing suit against several federal entities in the case.
“We are in a great moral crisis. A war is being waged for the soul of man. It is a war between good and evil, and we cannot remain conscientious objectors in that war.”
That has gone on too long, Thompson said, and he spelled out the results:
“Traditional marriages are under attack,” Thompson said. “We are called upon to consider any pair of consenting adults ‘marriage,’ we teach homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle, pass out free condoms to our children, pornography, and every degenerative act is portrayed in the media.
“Abortion is a constitutional right,” he continued. “Nativity displays and Christmas songs are prohibited. School prayers at graduations are outlawed. Ten Commandment displays are outlawed. Crosses on public property are outlawed. Religious freedoms of Christians are being restricted more and more.
“It is a sad thing when we see our own government trampling on religious liberty when our Founding Fathers thought religious liberty was the cornerstone of our nation.”
Thompson continued, “In God We Trust is still our motto, but today our nation is on the road to complete denial of God’s authority in our lives in the public square.”
The president of the Thomas More Law Center went on to say that it is important for American citizens to remember that their basic freedoms come not from the government, but from God, as stated in the Declaration of Independence.
Then, in reference to the United States Constitution, he said, “With all those elegant words and guarantees of religious freedom and free speech, they are meaningless unless we take action to implement them and to enforce them in the public square.”
Taking action and ensuring that those freedoms remain in place, said Thompson, is the reason the Thomas More Law Center was founded.
“There is no better time to be a Catholic than right now, and so there is no better time to act,” Thompson concluded.
For more information about the Thomas More Law Center, visit its website at www.thomasmore.org.
Battle tested and ready to take to take the fight to those who tread on religious liberties, Richard Thompson came to Fort Worth recently to relay some reports about what’s happening on the front lines. President and chief counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Thompson gave his update March 6 at the Fort Worth Club to members of the local chapter of Legatus, a group of Catholic business leaders.