Saturday, March 24, 2012

Freedom of worship versus freedom of religion: Words are powerful tools. They can inflict lifelong emotional scars, and can warm the coldest of hearts. They can also form culture and mold public opinion. “Pro-choice” was a decided use of words to move public opinion. Its emotional impact is softer than “pro-abortion.” The media refuses to use the term “pro-life advocates” but instead refers always to “anti-abortion advocates” because words form public opinion and mold cultural shifts. Beware of a deliberate choice of words now being used to form the public mind. Increasingly we hear from government officials and the media that the USA supports “freedom of worship.” However, this is very different than “freedom of religion.”

Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago, commented on this change in language. “The… rhetorical shift from supporting 'freedom of religion' to 'freedom of worship' paralleled an earlier shift in Russia," he said. "'Freedom of worship was guaranteed in the Constitution of the former Soviet Union,” Cardinal George said. “You could go to church, if you could find one. The church, however, could do nothing except conduct religious rites in places of worship-no schools, religious publications, health care institutions, organized charity, ministry for justice and the works of mercy that flow naturally from a living faith. All of these were co-opted by the government. We fought a long Cold War to defeat that vision of society.”
Msgr. William J. King

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