The Stewardship Foundation has, as a founding principle, support of religious freedom. If so, why should you care? What does it mean? You may recall how the earliest Christians, Peter and Paul, refused to compromise. When they were ordered to stop preaching their answer was, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:19)
For us, Freedom of Religion means that no person should be compelled to embrace any religion against his will, nor should persons of faith be forbidden to worship God according to the dictates of conscience, or to express freely and publicly their deeply held religious convictions. Neither should anyone be compelled to invest in morally irresponsible corporations, nor live in fear of being mocked and vilified because they conduct their business or personal affairs in accordance with the dictates of their conscience.
For all of us, religious freedom is supported by the U.S. Constitution. The First Amendment gives Americans the right to practice their own religion, or no religion at all. Religious freedom is exercised when we teach, practice our faith, worship God, or observe religious holidays – or when we freely choose not to believe in any religion at all! The Catholic bishops in the U.S. adopted religious freedom as a signature issue in response to the objections to contraception provisions in the Affordable Care Act.
Pope St. John Paul II said, “Religious freedom, an essential requirement of the dignity of every person, is a cornerstone of the structure of human rights, and for this reason, an irreplaceable factor in the good of individuals and of the whole society as well as of the personal fulfillment of each individual.”
During his visit to Philadelphia this past summer, Pope Francis said ”the right to religious freedom is a fundamental right which shapes the way we interact socially and personally with our neighbors whose religious views differ from our own.”
Last year in Rome, Iraqi Patriarch of the Chaldeans, Archbishop Louis Raphael Sako, said “If they kill us all, will you do something then?” Do we not have a responsibility to that man, and to the others of Iraq and Syria—Christian, Yazidi, and Muslim alike—who are fending for, or fleeing for, their lives?
Do you detect a theme here? As we march bravely into another year, our thoughts are focused as always on servicing our donor clients and our nonprofit partners according to the tenets of our Foundation – and that includes the defense of religious liberty as well as life, marriage, and family value issues. As always, if we can help you or someone you know to better understand the tools of morally responsible investing, or if we can help your nonprofit to attract major donors, please reach out. We, by the grace of God, are here to serve.